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Author of " The Adventures of a Bfack-thorne." 

]V[oiiti;eal : 


Entered according to Act of Parliament of Canada, in the 
year one thousand eight hundred and eighty-four, by 
T. H. Clayton, in the office of the Minister of 
Agriculture and Statistics at Ottawa. 

















Introductory Lecture in two Chapters. 
Chapter Page 
I. Sentimental Cogitations, with a little of Hamlet's 

Ghost 9 

II. Humor and Hunger, or Facts and Famine ,. 28 

III. Rural Scenes and Incidents ,. , 63 

IV. A Gala and a Gale day. — Two thoroughly opposite 

Irish Scenes. — Rent, Dinner and Dance. — Supper 

and Dance over the dead 88 

V. A Nocturnal Visitor.— An Irish Fox-hunt. — A Dead 
Man doing Duty for the Living, and Attends his 
own Funeral. — A Church-yard Scene. — A Chase 

on the Shannon for Life, and Ballads 108 

VI. The Dead Warning, or Ghost of Gurteen.— Old Kit 
Murrought, the Lone Tenant of the Old Abbey. — 
A Visit to her. — Her Prediction. — A Series of Ridi- 
culous Scenes. — Poetic Effusions 134 

VII. Funereal Chapter, with Love 174 

VIII. A Scattering. — An Elopement from the Ball-room 201 

IX. All that Glitters is not Gold.— Sunshine and Shadow.. 211 

X. A Ghastly Scene and Secret 226 

XL A Sister's Terrible Secret. — Devotion and Death, or 

an Execution's Ghastly Results 272 

XII. Kaleidoscopic Chapter— Some Fun and Farewell 301 


I have neither apology, excuse nor explanation 
to offer to the public respecting the volume pub- 
lished herewith, u Scenes and Incidents in Irish 
Life," only, that being unable to secure the 
services of an artist to produce more accurately 
some of those scenes depicted by me, I have been 
compelled to borrow some of the sketches. Nor, am 
I satisfied with them myself as graphically por- 
traying the scenes and characters I describe, of 
which they fall short considerably. 

Since the first notice of the publication of the 
work appeared, I have experienced much kind 
assistance, encouragement and notice from a large 
number of friends, including the Editors of many 
of our most influential papers in town and country, 
and for which I offer my most sincere thanks and 

The Author. 

)tmtp and j(ncicbis in |i|islt |ife. 


Sentimental Cogitations, Sc. 

AND of my forefathers, Erin-go-bragh ! Let 
the music, mirth and mourning inspired by 
these words fill the heart of the reader, so that, 
from grave to gay, he or she may enjoy and appre- 
ciate the contents of this little book, more especially 
intended for the patriotic, enthusiastic Irish men 
and women who, in spirit, once more would revisit 
scenes of yore, — the dance, the wake, the fair green 
and fight, fiddle and fireside, pipes and potheen, love 
and legend. 

The lamp must be replenished, but, even then 
It will not burn so long as I must watch : 
My slumbers — if I slumber — are not sleep 
But a continuance of enduring thought, 
Which then I can resist not In my heart 
There is a vigil, and these eyes but close 
To look within, and yet I live, and bear 
The aspect and form of breathing men. 
But grief should be the instructor of the wise. 
Sorrow is knowledge ; they who know the most 
Must mourn the deepest o'er the fatal truth. 
The tree of knowledge is not that of life. 

— From Manfred. 


10 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

In my dreams I revisit old scenes, I cross the old 
pasture, and over the stile in the hawthorn hedge 
into the lonely and romantic old lane or bocheen 
leading to the humble thatched home of a neighbor- 
ing farmer. The day is done ; its labor and toil is 
over, and a little group is assembled around the 
cheerful peat fire, upon top of which a piece of bog- 
deal is placed, which blazes up and lends a glow r to 
hearts and faces. The country musician blows 
away at his flute, playing some lively jig or reel, 
and beating time the while with his foot, while 
a dancing pair, regardless of the day's toils or the 
morrow's, nimbly trip it as in days of yore. Anon I 
hear the song and merry laugh. I pass in through 
the half door, accept the proffered chair, enjoy the 
scene and feel its gladdening influence. Suddenly 
a form darkens the door, and the bright hearth 
becomes dark and cold, the faces fade, the music 
and laughter become a wail, a piercing cry ; I hear 
the sound of iron crow-bar, tumbling stones and 
rafters. I struggle, and awake, to think and grieve 
over my dream and its reality. 

It is recorded of Curran that, upon an inflated 
youth boasting to him of his illustrious family, 
Curran drily remarked, — "your family is like 
the potatoe when growing, the best part is under 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 11 

the ground." Does this apply to the Celtic bulb of 
the present day ? I trust not ; nor can I bear to 
think that the glories of old Ireland are gone and 
forever, — nay, rather, do I believe that the eternal 
fire of patriotism is still aglow in the hearts of Erin's 
sons and daughters, and that the beacon fires of 
liberty are only smouldering on the high altars of 
the green hills of the Emerald Isle, and ready to 
flash forth the glad news, when the golden rays of 
the sun of liberty are about to gild the highest peaks 
of her majestic hills, and flood her smiling valleys 
with its golden light, and, penetrating the resting- 
places of the illustrious dead — peer and peasant, 
priest and poet — convey the glad tidings to their 
sleeping ashes — as the ray of inspiration lights up 
the soul of the living prophet — that the seeds they 
have sown have withstood the chilly storms of time 
and have attained to the golden ear, the rustling 
stems of which, like the strings of the aeolian harp, 
load each passing zephyr with sweetest sounds, and 
wake the echoes of the fairy caves ; or, like the 
silver- winged bark of the ocean, glide o'er the glad 
waves to distant climes, freighted with the precious 
news to the mourning exile, who, in turn, breathes 
it to the ashes of those sleeping exiles, who, like the 
patriarchs of old, went down to the grave full of a 

12 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

sure and certain hope, begotten of faith, springing out 
of a righteous cause. 

Has England drawn Ireland to her side as a 
loving mother her child? No. Has she endeavored 
to obliterate the memories of past cruelties and 
injustices by loving caresses and conciliation ? No. 
Has her breast heaved with sorrow as she beheld 
the multitude of Erin's children stand upon the sea- 
shore, and heard the frantic cry, the mournful wail, 
and suppressed moan which went up to Heaven 
from breaking hearts ? Would to God I could say 
from my heart, yes. 

Like Israel's tribes of old when carried away 
captive, and, by the waters of Babylon, their broken- 
stringed harps hung desolate on the willows, refused 
to sing the songs of Zion in a strange land, or forget 
the land of their forefathers which they loved so well, 
so it is with the sons and daughters of Erin ; no 
matter what their comforts or surroundings on a 
foreign shore — 

Eem ember thee ? Yes, while there's life in this heart, 
It shall never forget thee, all lorn as thou art, 
More dear in thy sorrow, thy gloom and thy showers 
Than the rest of the world in their sunniest hours. 

— Moore. 

There is one thing certain, that, roam where he 
may, whether amongst the mighty pines of the 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 13 

north, or languidly straying amongst the orange 
groves of the south, and treading upon its floral car- 
pet, which lades each passing breeze with richest 
odors, surrounded by all the varied glories of these 
climes, the Irishman's heart fondly turns to that 
gem of the ocean — the Emerald Isle — true as the 
needle to the pole. 

Its history and associations or memories are 
sacredly enshrined in and entwined about his heart, 
yea, as the ashes of the beloved dead are enshrined in 
the loving bosom of old Graunia Wail and rest in 
peace. Yes, beneath the shade of the spreading ash 
or elm, or under the shadow of the old church tower, 
or within the sacred precincts of the grass-grown, ivy- 
crowned abbey, rest the ashes of the honest, hospit- 
able race of Erin's sons and daughters, whose pious, 
precious memories, like the aroma from orange 
groves afar, come laden on the wings of time. 

The love-sick swain, the modest maiden — faithful 
types of the Paul and Virginia of another isle — are 
found in all their blessed simplicity in our Emerald 
Isle, unskilled and untutored in the social and domes- 
tic vices of other countries in the present day. 

In Erin's isle, love and music, chivalry and poetry 
are not exotics. Their delightful influence pervade 
the soul and fill the breast of every patriot and child 

14 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

of the soil- The echoes of the past fill the present ; 
and all the traits of our ancestors, virtues or vices 
(for we acknowledge the latter), we possess, nor need 
we blush to stand side by side with any other people 
for comparison. 

Undying love and attachment for the land of his 
birth, the home of his childhood, exalted, uncom- 
promising regard and reverence for the sacred ties, 
social and domestic, are indelibly and prominently 
stamped upon the Irish character. Terribly impul- 
sive and fearless if aroused by a sense of injustice, 
oppression and wrong, perpetrated upon himself or 
others, — if appealed to in the latter case he does 
not long remain a disinterested spectator, whether 
in the cause of a private friend, the Queen of Eng- 
land, the Pope of Eome, or the Sultan of Turkey. 

! England, England, what riches, what precious 
gems thou art casting away and trampling under 
foot, in crushing the noble-hearted, lovable peasan- 
try of Ireland. Start not, mighty Gladstone or strut- 
ting Forster of buckshot notoriety ! Falstaffs of your 
day can speak and act to suit your company and 
procure your sack — Master Shallows, in truth. 
Look not offended at the charge, suffering, I say — as 
many before you of a similar type — the noblest 
peasantry in the wide world to be crushed by the 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 1 5 

iron heel of the strong and scattered to the four 
winds of heaven. 

When the quays of the seaport towns of England 
and Ireland were thronged with the weeping sons 
and daughters of Ireland who, forced to flee the land 
of their forefathers, stood like slaves waiting to be 
stowed away in the vile holds of the emigrant ships — 
only too many of whom were to find a grave in the 
silent depths of the vast Atlantic — did not England 
sit unmoved, unconcerned, at the sad spectacle or 
gloating over the broken-hearted exiles' sorrows ? 
Did not the wail of sorrow fill the land even unto 
the foot of the throne, which was defended and 
upheld from time immemorial by the brave arms of 
their forefathers, and at the cost of noble Irish 
blood and heroic lives. Is this the reward ? Is 
this the return ? Is this the sympathy ? 

" To submerge Ireland for forty-eight hours would 
be the best thing that could happen," said a repre- 
sentative Englishman. I ask, does this find an echo 
in the hearts of his countrymen, who have neither 
the honesty nor bravery to say so, but steadily 
and untiringly keep the crank turning, to scatter 
and crush a noble, kind-hearted but impulsive race, 
who have composed the flower of the British army, 
produced the finest orators, statesmen, diplomatists 

16 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

and generals, the world has ever known. And yet, 
without a sigh, without compassion, without regret, — 
unmoved at the tears, the unroofed houses, the deso- 
late hearths and hearts, England's Sovereign and 
prime ministers have suffered the devastation and 
depopulation of the brightest gem in the British 
crown, — a land, a people as I have already said, a 
prop and pillar of the throne. 

The foregoing may provoke the smile of the 
supercilious, the sneer of English cynics, or the 
pshaw of a noble weaver or court tailor, who, like 
their Queen, has little more than, if so much as, set 
foot upon Irish soil, and never studied the Irish 
character, but think they are a nation of dogs, who 
ought to be thankful for the bone of their own game 
after the meat is consumed, — yea that which they 
have watched, hunted and caught, they are to lay at 
the feet of their masters, and, should they dare to 
remonstrate or appropriate a tithe of their own, 
must submit to be whipped, or kicked into submis- 
sion, and lick the hand or foot that did so. If the 
overbent bow snapped, or the boomerang recoiled 
and struck the unskilled hand, then the cry of 
treachery, rebellion, and ingratitude was raised. 

If, through indifference and misrule, grasping and 
greed of those in authority, a people are reduced to 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 17 

seini-starvation and deprived of all honorable re- 
sources, and by every means striped of every chance 
and incentive to rise in the social scale, and, down to a 
date far from remote, prohibited and punished, 
imprisoned and fined for worshipping England's God, 
according to their conscience, not permitted to raise 
the altar of their God in shed or barn, or even by 
the wayside, under the sheltering hedge, — even dis- 
persed by foreigners and hirelings, their priests and 
teachers condemned and punished, — if, I say, under 
such circumstances as these, and, like an ill-regu- 
lated, ill-trained family, they fell out among them- 
selves, and committed unbrotherly acts, and violent, 
the sin lies at the door of the ruling power, who, not 
seeing the beam in their own organs of vision, point- 
ed out the mote they cast into the eyes of others. 

Show me as vile a page in Irish Eoman Catholic 
history from any standpoint, social or political, con- 
stitutional or religious, — as vile I say and disgusting, 
irreligious and revolutionary as the Protestantism 
of Cromwellian times. And yet the vilest ranter, 
peer or peasant, offspring of the veriest offscouring 
of those times, was preferred to the respectable, peace- 
able and pious Irish Eoman Catholic, who, deprived 
of his paternity, and reduced to slavery, saw a 
stranger and mercenary inherit and occupy his place, 

18 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

and, domineering over him, demand unqualified sub- 

I do not wish to stir up old animosities of clan 
or creed, but I do old memories of past injustices 
and wrongs, that justice may be done and not per- 
petuated. If speaking the truth is to cause strife 
I shall never cease until my eyes close in death. 

If a man murdered his neighbor and drove away 
the widow and orphan, and took possession of the 
murdered man's property, and, dying, left it to his 
children, I ask after two centuries had passed away 
would time obliterate the injustice and wrong, or 
the title of the descendants of the murdered men, 
and establish the title of the usurper and murderer, 
or wipe out his guilt, and make nil the responsibility 
and duty of his children's children to those of their 
wronged neighbor, who might be their contempora 
ries ? I trow not. 

Such I consider to be the respective positions of 
England and Ireland to a great extent. 

Might is not right, but right is sure to become 
might eventually. Does England complain of inci- 
pient rebellion in Ireland, and outbreaks ? The cause 
of disease must be removed and eradicated from 
the system, else a permanent cure is not accom- 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 19 

Lord Byron, in an able and sarcastic speech before 

the House of Lords in 1812, in alluding to the 

wrongs of the Irish Koman Catholics goes on to say : 

— " But when you come forward, session sfter 

session, as your paltry pittance is wrung from you 

with wrangling and reluctance, to boast of your 

liberality, well might the Catholic (Irish Koman) 

exclaim in the words of Prior : — 

' To John I owe some obligation, 
But John unluckily thinks fit 
To publish it to all the nation, 

So John and I are more than quit.' 

Some persons have compared the Catholics to the 

beggar in Gil Bias. Who made them beggars ? 

Who are enriched with the spoils of their ancestors ? 

And cannot you relieve the beggar when your 

fathers have made him such ? , 

But there are those who assert that the Catholics have 

already been too much indulged ; see (cry they) 

what has deen done : we have given them one entire 

college, we allow them food and raiment, the full 

enjoyment of the elements, and leave to fight for us 

as long as they have limbs and lives to offer, — and 

yet they are never to be satisfied ! Generous and 

just disclaimers ! To this and to this only amount 

the whole of your arguments, when stripped of their 

sophistry. These personages remind me of the 

20 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

story of a certain drummer, who, being called upon 
in the course of duty to administer punishment to a 
friend tied to the halberts, was requested to flog high, 
he did — to flog low, he did, — to flog in the middle, 
he did — high, low, down the middle, and up again, 
but all in vain, the patient continued his complaints 
with the most provoking pertinacity, until the drum- 
mer, exhausted and angry, flung down his scourge 
exclaiming, " the devil burn you, there's no pleasing 
you, flog where one will." Thus it is, you have 
flogged the Catholic, high, low, here, there, and every- 
where, and then you wonder he is not pleased. It 
is true that time, experience, and that weariness 
which attends even the exercise of barbarity, have 
taught you to flog a little more gently, but still you 
continue, till perhaps the rod may be wrested from 
your hands, and applied to the backs of yourselves 
aud your posterity." 

And now, at the time I write, eighteen hundred 
and eighty-one, England begins to awake out of 
sleep, though slowly, and, opening the dusty pages 
of the past, reads the list of unredressed wrongs, and 
with trembling fingers sets about correcting the 
unjust weights and scales which meted to Ireland 
her bitter portion in the past. Prominent members, 
even of the House of Lords to-day, are reported having 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 21 

publicly said that England must thoroughly remedy 
the wrongs inflicted in past generations, which have 
never been redressed, and wounds given which have 
never been healed, nor have efforts been put forth to 
effect a radical cure." Confiscation and deprivation 
by force of arms may satisfy one party for a time, — 
might may be called right for a season — but For- 
tune's wheel goes round, nevertheless, and changes 
the chess-men. 

If England thinks that union lords and aristocrats 
of illegitimate descent, sent over from England and 
allotted the lands and estates confiscated, are more 
profitable to prop up and perpetuate than to seek 
out the rightful owners and reinstate them, and to 
promote repatriation instead of expatriation, and con- 
ciliate them, she will find her mistake — if she has 
not found it already — when it will be too late. 

In feudal or modern times a baron or lord without 
faithful followers was a useless and vain figure -head 
and many a hated yet tinselled leader has become 
as a dead dog. England, to prevent the steam escap- 
ing, puts her hireling sitting upon the safety valve of 
the engine, "Wild Irishman," and then curses the 
engine for exploding and causing devastation, con- 
fusion and death. Let her first go and repress the 
action of the volcano by throwing mud and stones 

22 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

into the crater, and then turn and silence and repress 
the undying spirit of Erin's injured and insulted 
children by shot and shell, coercion acts and trans- 
portation. But those who make her ballads shall 
control her destinies and preserve the memories of 
her oppressions and oppressors embalmed in worm 
wood and aloes of sarcasm and irony, as in the 
ballad of the Peeler and the Goat, etc. ; while, on 
the other hand, her victories and her victors, her 
liberty and liberators shall be indelibly engraven 
upon the hearts and memories of each succeeding 
generation, and their glories sung in cabin and 
hall, tavern and fair green. " Lay his Sword by his 
Side," She is Far from the Land, &c." 

They say the Scotch are so clannish wherever they 
are found, and seldom are they found fault with or 
their customs or costumes denounced — kilt or kirtle, 
plaid or pipes — but, on the contrary, promoted and 
perpetuated by prince, peer and peasant. The 
Queen pets and fondles everything Scotch; the 
Prince of Wales dons the half-savage dress of the 
Highland chieftain, and raises high the thistle. The 
Scotch desire their distinctive national dress in the 
army and are not refused, nor dubbed rebel, and 
yet only a rivulet and imaginary line divide Scot- 
land from England ; and, further, the church of 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 23 

England has no sympathy with the schismatic Pres- 
byterianism of Scotland, — the ecclesiastical ogre of 
other days, one of Cromwell's bulldogs. 

The waters of the mighty ocean roll between the 
fwo nations, Celt and Saxon, no matter by what name 
you may designate that portion of water, and yet 
Irish men and women are derided and condemned if 
they persist in retaining and cherishing all their 
national customs, traits and trefoil, as well as Scot- 
land's sons and daughters. 

We are coolly told by the matter-of-fact, unsenti- 
mental pack pedlars of the colonies, who never 
knew fame nor father, but are in pursuit of both, that, 
when once we leave the land of our birth, we should 
forget our nationality, and when in Canada call 
ourselves Canadians, if in the United States Ameri- 
cans or Yankees, and, I suppose, if in the Cape of 
Goodhope, Africans or Zulus, like John Dunn. 

No, thrice no ! An Irishman is an Irishman and 
an Irish girl is an Irish girl all the world over ; and 
few are like them — an obedient, loving child, a faithful 
wife or husband, a devoted, tender parent, a warm- 
hearted, unaffected host or hostess, without a super- 

The Englishman's character and characteristics 
may be inferred from his cognomen, John Bull. His 

24 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

beef and beer give him the big belly and bluntness. 
The Scotchman, Sandy, with his oat-cake and 
smoky whisky, and thistle, denote his dry, taciturn, 
prickly disposition. But Pat, with his potatoes 
and butter and drop of potheen or mountain dew to 
wet his trefoil — sacred emblem — and its modest 
flower, you have the soft tender-hearted disposi- 
tion of verdant hue, ever refreshing, essentially 
religious and reverential, mirthful and merry, — 
subject to fits of extremes, it is true, 
but never fickle in his faith or friendship; 
easily conquered by kindness genuine and affection 
not feigned, notwithstanding that an English lady, 
who has written a book lately about her experiences 
during a sojourn on the west coast of Ireland, thinks 
a prominent feature in the people is ingratitude. 
I wonder she did not say they had tails, poor woman ! 
Did we care but to enquire after her breeding and 
training and personal qualities, we should find that 
the fault was in her English shop-keeping vulgarity, 
and that if she had much money she had little deli- 
cacy, and contrariwise on the part of her Irish neigh- 

As we shall have something to say about the 
class of English and Scotch immigrants who from time 
to time visited and located themselves in Ireland, 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 25 

only to clear out again after a little, we shall forego 
further remarks about them at this stage of our 

What I here record is for the most part what I 
am personally cognizant of, and I desire to show 
that Ireland has been ill-treated and slandered, and 
never fairly and honestly considered nor wisely 
conciliated, but thrust down and treated with sus- 
picion. It is an acknowledged fact upon all hands 
that the Irish are great patriots, enthusiastic lovers 
of hearths and homes, therefore requiring but little 
to make them contented and happy. 

But it did seem to me that the little the poor had 
was grudged to them, and coveted from them, and 
of which they seemed to be painfully conscious. In 
consequence of which they were afraid to look too 
comfortable, or make little improvements, knowing 
only too well that such was likely to attract the 
greedy eye of the landlord, agent or understrapper, — 
together with the suggestion that more rent could be 
got for that place. As I write the words even now, 
my blood boils with indignation and loathing, know- 
ing well the oppression of the Irish tenant. It has 
often been a matter of surprise to me, how or upon 
what the small Irish farmer subsisted, after he had 

paid his rent, tithe, poor rates and taxes. A farmer 

26 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

with a holding of thirty acres had to make up a 
sum of from forty to sixty pounds sterling, or, in 
American currency, two to three hundred dollars. It 
made no difference to him the rise or fall of real 
estate, or, for that matter, of produce, except that he 
felt the pinch and was driven more upon the verge 
of destitution and despair ; so that, whether the crops 
were good or bad, prices high or low, this sum in 
hard cash had to be paid the landlord, and upon the 
day appointed. 

If a poor man had the temerity to remonstrate or 
grumble the reply was, your neighbor will be glad 
to get it for the same or more, notwithstanding 
that the land was not worth more than one-half 
what was being paid for it, even the most favorable 

But to leave the dear old home could not be 
thought of, come what would ; a potatoe and salt there 
was preferable to luxuries elsewhere, — a certainty to 
an uncertainty. The inexorable, greedy landlord 
knew this, and took a cruel advantage of it, grasped 
all, looked for more, folded his hands and felt secure. 

Public peace and prosperity cannot and will not 
exist, as matters are at present in Ireland and 
always has been, for that matter, since she has come 
under the sway of England, if historians are to be 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 27 

relied upon, or the reports of speeches by English 

statesmen in the great halls of her legislature. 

If the effort at depopulation is successful there 

may be a peace, but England will be the sufferer, 

and the landlord's palmy days are over ; 

But no, such canuot be the case, 

That England would all Celtic blood efface. 

2£f Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 


Humor and Hunger ; or, Facts and Famine. 

KEMEMBER a beautiful land far away, 

An isle by the blue sea carest, 
Where the fields are so green and the mountain 
so gray, 

In that beautiful isle in the west, 

There rocks, grim and hoary, and stately old hills 

Still echo the peasant's sweet song, 
And broad shining rivers and murmuring rills 
Go flashing and dancing along. 

Tho' far from thy shores for many long years 

My feet have a stranger's soil prest 
Still thy mem'ry comes with a gush of fond tears, 
Sweet home of my youth in the west. 

And often I dream I am a bare-legged child, 

And sit by the old cabin door 
With a head full of fancies, romantic and wild, 
And a warm heart with love brimming o'er, 

As again through the tangled green bushes I roam, 

Yet, ! I supremely am blest, 
As even in spirit again I'm at home 
At home in the beautiful west — 

There the rocks and the caves, and each bright sunny 

Peep out from her emerald breast. 
Ah ! well may the fairies continue to dwell 
In that beautiful isle in the west. 

— Anon. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 29 

It is wonderful what small and apparently insig- 
nificant things entwine themselves about one's heart 
and become a mighty cable binding us to persons 
and places ; and, like travelling through a moving 
sandy desert, the sweet memories of the pleasant 
past become as oases to many a weary, wayworn 
traveller, as echoes from the fairy caves of strains 
of music long since gone. Faces and figures long 
since laid away in the silent caves of death revisit 
us, and dance or laugh, smile or cry, or once again 
make the heart to flutter as of yore with the tele- 
graphic look of love. The mind runs rampant, and 
wild from the sublime to the ridiculous, nor do we 
seem to realize that such takes place within us, so 
that, from grave to gay, we flit in thought, and yet 
feel grave as at a funeral. And how often in the 
presence of the dead, the heart bursting with sym- 
pathetic sorrow, has some ridiculous thought flashed 
across the mind, or some word or sound arrested the 
ear, or some strange movement or contortion caught 
the eye, which has almost carried us away, causing 
our merriment to overleap all bounds, and which 
we could only repress by great struggling. 

To record such is by no means to trifle with or 
ridicule the feelings of a people, but to speak of 
that which is common to all classes, to put in writ- 

30 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 

ing feelings, fits or emotions to which all are subject, 
and to which the writer pleads guilty. 

The commonplace or superficial reader, the dull 
thinker, the unimaginative mind, have but little 
sympathy with those whose minds and souls are like 
the mercury. The mind, however, which is alive to 
joy, is also and perhaps equally, alive to sorrow, and 
often passes by quick transition from one to the 
other. Lord Byron in his Corsair has shown us that he 
was not a stranger to this peculiarity of mind : 

Strange though it seems, yet with extremest grief 
Is linked a mirth — it doth not bring relief ; 
The playfulness of sorrow ne'er beguiles, 
And smiles in bitterness — but still it smiles. 

No people, I claim, are more susceptible of such 

emotions than my fellow country-men and women 

I care not who may retort that such a character 

can never accomplish any thing great nor be trusted 

in matters of great moment. I answer, I am not 

careful to reply to such a self-evident fallacy. The 

history of the nation, the biographies of her great 

men and women, whose names are legion, attest the 

contrary ; yet a person may say, an Irish historian 

would naturally favor his country and his people. I 

also reply, ask the great nations of the earth, — the 

names and deeds of Erin's sons and daughters will be 

found interwoven in the brightest portions of their 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 31 

records. That we should sing or talk of and glory 

in the exploits of ancestors is nothing strange nor 

deserving a sneer. Where is the nation or people, I 

ask, of any parts or spirit above a dog, who have 

not done so ; such feelings ennoble and elevate, and 

make true patriots ; burning with a love of home and 


" Lives there a man with soul so dead 
Who never to himself has said 
This is my own, my native land." 

As I look at the present struggles of my country- 
men and women for their rights, yes, their sacred 
rights, and hear the tumult from afar, my heart 
bleeds ; it is the shriek of freedom from an oppressed 
land, a ground down people, whose sons have been 
dubbed rebels when they fought for their own rights, 
but heroes when they fought for the rights of others, — 
expected, I repeat, to lick the hand that administers 
the lash, like a dog, nor dare to cry, much less to 
bite ; the lands of their forefathers confiscated, 
because they dared to love the land of their birth, 
their customs and religion better than the strangers 
and usurper — the conqueror who, with bone in one 
hand and rod in the other treated the subdued but 
not conquered Irish to lick or lash, as the noble im- 
pulse cf some gouty English statesman pulsated 
from his toe, or as the baskets of Irish grouse, part- 

32 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

ridge, snipe and hares, which came from his Irish 
preserves, were more or less full, and as the report of 
the agent happened to sound, — for instance : — 

"I regret that the game is not as plentiful as 
other years, as I found that many of the tenants 
had been in the habit of shooting or snaring surrep- 
titiously. Licky, the caretaker, a faithful fellow and 
active, went into Flanagan's one day and found they 
had hare soup for dinner ; they endeavored to conceal 
it, and threw it out, but Licky picked up a portion 
of it ? and I had them up before the court the follow- 
ing week, and had them punished by fine and im- 
prisonment. Others who were troublesome in the 
same way I have evicted, and re-let their places to a 
brother-in-law of Licky's, and a man who was a 
butler with me for many years — a most respectable 
fellow. I am determined to rigorously put down this 
surreptitious hunting by this class of people, otherwise 
a gentleman can have no sport, nor a morsel of game 
for luncheon or dinner," &c.&c, 

John Blackleg Eggshell, 


" That's the way to do it," said my lord Champagne, 
" damn those Irish, they are a devilish set of rebels, 
a hungry set ; every mother's son of them ought to 
be transported who are found hunting. I shall see 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 33 

that a more vigorous law is enacted next session. 

" Let me see, ' fifty brace of partridge, twenty -five 
brace of grouse, eighty brace of snipe, twenty hares, 
provoking, not half sufficient, there is that dinner 
this week and ball next, it's not to be tolerated. I 
shall write to Eggshell to turn them all out on the 
high road to the devil — set of rebels." 

Now, dear reader, let me show you the other side : 
This Flanagan family, alluded to in the foregoing 
as having sinned against their lord of creation and 
subject of gout, they had a small holding of four 
or five acres, part of it reclaimed and drained low- 
land bog ; an acre of this was sown in oats, an acre 
or thereabouts in wheat and barley, half an acre in 
potatoes, a little patch for cabbage, etc., and the rest 
was fenced in to keep the cow from committing 
suicide in a bog hole, when suffering from permanent 
mental aberration or distraction, and stomachic 
contraction consequent on high rent and fence and low 
latitude, — and, if I may be pardoned for further 
digression, this same cow looked to have an 
easy life of it, and fond of contemplation and other 
innocent enjoyments ; for instance, her only compan- 
ions were about half a dozen geese, with forked 
sticks on their necks, and rather ragged appearance. 
As some of them thrust their necks through the 

34 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

hedge for a blade of grass or with, a hope of being 
able to go farther, which in some places, as the old 
proverb has it, would have been to speed worse, the 
old cow pauses from curling her hair with her 
tongue to contemplate the efforts of her companions 
to obtain an extra bit, and anon resume her pas- 

On one side of this field ran an old lane, or 
bocheen, as such humble avenues to humble* 
houses are called ; to this the cow more frequently- 
directed her attention, even walking over to look 
through the hedge, then toss up her head with 
evident impatience. There was the ass of the 
family working away with energy, to keep the way 
from being overgrown with grass and thistles. 

This was how the few acres were cultivated, and 
this the amount of stock, with the exception of a 
small pig and a few hens which ran at large upon 
the Queen's high road, and scraped or rooted hard 
to live and take root. So that ? if we take into con- 
sideration that in addition to this amount of live 
stock there was Flanagan, his wife and five children 
the oldest a girl of twelve years, a boy of ten and 
the rest, varying in age and size, in addition again to 
all this, poor Flanagan had to help to support the land- 
lord, the agent, the bailiff, the beggars in the work- 

Scenes and Incidents in Lish Life. 35 

house, police, jails, public schools and his religion. 
You will say, outrageous ! so do I ; but this is not 
all, no, nor the hardest to bear, nor the worst and 
most severe : he was compelled to feed and 
keep game for his landlord's pleasure, gastronomic 
and otherwise, and of which he himself dare not 
touch one bone, as shown^ when Licky, the bailiff, 
paid them the visit reported by the agent, to the 
landlord, when the hare-soup was suddenly thrown 
out, and the potatoes and salt were the only legitimate 
articles of food they dared then eat in the presence 
of a vile, sneaking understrapper. 

I have said, this unfortunate Irish tenant 
was compelled to feed the game for his lord- 
ship's pleasure, and I will also add to pay for 
the privilege of doing so, too. Flanagan had 
managed to sow some fall wheat, and this, as 
well as sundry other works on his little holding, he 
managed to accomplish in the early morning before 
he went to his daily labor, with a farmer close by ; 
for he had to work for his daily hire to support his 
family, and keep his little cabin home — no un- 
common thing for men of his class in Ireland. But 
although the wheat seemed to have started, it never 
increased in its growth. In like manner the oats 
and barley appeared to have come to the top of the 

36 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

ground, and, in spite of rain and sunshine, stubbornly 
refused to grow or be coaxed into growing, as if it 
felt to do so would be hollow mockery, a useless 
expenditure of natural force. The following dia- 
logue will explain all : — 

" God save you, Mr. Leaky, won't you be afther 
takin a sate," said Flanagan, as the other entered, 
the little cur at the same time making a charge 
from under the table at his legs, and showing all 
his teeth, as if he felt that Leaky, as Flanagan 
called him, was a most unwelcome and unseason- 
able visitor. 

" Flanagan," said Licky, " that dog will get you into 
trouble. I continually hear him yelping afther the 
hares, and I think he sometimes kills one, too," and 
he looked knowingly and significantly at the table 
and then at a pot which stood on the hearth. 

Flanagan's wife looked frightened, and the children 
looked from father to mother and also at the telltale 
pot. Flanagan stammered out something about his 
crops being all destroyed, that he would not be left a 
grain of corn to pay his rint, as his field was alive 
at night with hares and rabbits, which devoured 
every blade of wheat and oats which appeared, and 
that it was a hard thing if a poor man could not 
keep a dog so much as to drive them off. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 37 

This, dear reader, is a plain, unvarnished truth, 
and to which many a one living on this or the other 
side of the Atlantic can testify, yea, I have scarcely 
a doubt but that these lines will meet the eye of 
those who have suffered such hardships. 

For this same holding this unfortunate family 
paid eight pounds sterling per year, nearly forty 
dollars, exclusive of taxes and poor rates, &c., &c, 
nor would he receive the slightest consideration nor 
sympathy when rent day came around, although it 
was well known to agent and driver the destruction 
occasioned by the multitude of game, nor dare he, as 
has been already shown, shoot, snare or hunt with his 
dog those very creatures which completely demolished 
the fruits of his hard labor as also that of his poor 
wife and children, who helped him in the ploughing 
and planting. With the help of her little boy poor 
Mary Flanagan yoked the ass to a light harrow, and 
plodded to and fro to cover the grain, after which the 
little boy followed the roller, as it did not require 
the same strength as the harrow, which had to be 
raised from time to time, to take away the weeds 
which choked it. With skawn also hanging at her 
side full of seed potatoes, she worked sticking them, 
as it is called, when the spade is stuck in the 
ground, jerked forward, and, the seed being 

38 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

dexterously slipped into the ground behind it, the 
spade is withdrawn. 

The little girl who had had measles and caught 
cold was delicate, and generally took care of the other 
children, swept the floor with the heather broom, 
washed the potatoes for dinner in her little skibb 
at the brook hard by, her delicate voice the while 
singing some Irish ballad, happy as a lark in spring- 
time, yet her only dress was a chemise, an apology 
for a petticoat, a miserable cotton dress, and no 
stockings, no shoes — such articles would have been 
extravagance, and to be seen with them would have 
been considered sufficient cause to raise the rent 
still higher. For whenever a tenant is seen to grow 
eonfortable, if he is a tenant-at-will, he is sure to 
have his rent raised, to satisfy the greedy maw of a 
landlord. Therefore, in constant fear and anxiety, he 
watches the rising and setting of the sun, the coming 
and going of the agent and driver — or rent warner 
as this official is often called — to which class belonged 
this fellow Licky, and I must add, speaking from 
personal knowledge, a more heartless, unprincipled set 
of rascals a tenant would not wish to come in con- 
tact with. Of course there are exceptious ; many who 
read this book, either upon this or the other side of 
the Atlantic, will soon have a specimen of this 
class conjured up before his mind's eye. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 39 

A private soldier will often declare that he would 
as soon have the Devil his adjutant as one of his 
own comrades promoted to that rank ; so with the 
Irish tenant, either peasant or gentleman farmer : 
there is an obtrusive officiousness, a disgusting 
pretension to possessing influence with landlord 
and agent, often with a view to exacting a retainer — 
if the lawyers will pardon the use of the word, but 
the words exacting retainer suit better than to use 
the word refresher. A hint, a mysterious nod or look 
to alarm poor Flanagan as to the possibility of higher 
rent being imposed, or, more terrible still, eviction, 
was always sure to bring about the result desired, 
after the following manner : " Begor, Mr. Licky, I al- 
ways felt sartin you wor my friend (the title of mist- 
her bestowed upon a fellow of his class always beto- 
kened obsequiousness and fear) won't you thry a 
drop of the crayther anyhow, its the foinest I tashted 
for many a day," and a large bottle was produced 
simultaneous with the praises of the crayther, as 
whiskey or potheen is often called in Ireland. The 
latter is what the result of illegal distillation is known 
by. The work often being carried un under ground 
upon the edge of some of the bogs, and so carefully 
would the excavation be made, and everything that 
would arouse suspicions removed or obliterated, that 

40 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

again and again have the excise officials passed over 
such places without the slightest suspicion of their 
close proximity to the prize. But many strolling 
beggars knew the place, and got regaled and kept 
mum ; yet such was not always the case. But woe 
betide the informer, if discovered, no one had pity 
for him or her, and very justly, for if the transgres- 
sor of the law gets punished with a cat-o-nine-tails 
the vile informer should be treated to a cat-o-ten- 
tails. This has always been the great curse of poor 
Ireland, and it makes one's blood boil to hear that 
common saying, so often flung in our faces — and 
what adds to the sting is the consciousness of the 
fact — " that put one Irishman on the spit and you 
will find another to turn him." I must beg the 
reader's pardon for this digression. 

Licky was soon made look pleasant by the present 
of a bottle of the stuff in his pocket. 

The American or Canadian reader may say, but 
why need Flanagan stand such treatment, or any 
other man of his class, but go somewhere else. 
Those who would say so know but little about Ire- 
land and the Irish. Go, where ? I ask, out on the 
high road, to play the beggar from door to door ? 
no, the poorest laborer disdains to ask a crust of bread ; 
though poor, it may be, yet his soul revolts at the 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 41 

idea, — a noble and pardonable pride prevent him. 
Once out of a home in Ireland it is not an easy 
matter always to find another, consequently the poor 
farmer or laborer will often endure much wrong and 
imposition ere he will dare to grumble or run the 
risk of being turned adrift on the highway, with 
wife and children, exposed to the damp, penetrating 
atmosphere of the country. I have often thought that 
Eussian serfdom was little, if any, worse than the 
condition of the Irish peasant or small farmer. I 
appeal to the reader, how would you like to see your 
crops all destroyed year after year by the multitude 
of game kept for the pleasure of one thoughtless and 
supremely selfish wretch, for which you received 
no credit nor consideration ; and of that multitude of 
animals which destroyed the bread fo the family or 
the means of paying the rent of four or five acres 
for the benefit derived from one, you dare not kill 
one if you or one of your family were starving, but 
for an animal not worth one shilling you were drag- 
ged before a magistrate of the same type as the 
landlord mentioned, who read you a pompous mock- 
morality sermon upon the gravity of your crime, in 
addition to which you were fined, or sent to the 
common jail, and: perhaps reminded, by way of 

arousing your gratitude, that it was fortunate for you 

42 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

you were not living in other times when it was a 
hanging matter to kill a rabbit. 

So, from time, to time, this was the picture, the 
every-day occurrence throughout Ireland, that such 
things were not wondered at, and poor Pat was 
reconciled to his slavery and semi-starvation, an 
illustration of the common saying — a standing joke 
— .like the Irishman accustomed to hanging, you don't 
mind it. He felt in his subdued humility that such 
luxuries as a hare, rabbit, partridge, grouse, snipe or 
woodcock were not for the loikes of him, but the 

You had to get a license to fish, a license to shoot, 
a license to keep a gun, a license to hunt or keep 
even a hunting-dog, aye even a wife — not only do I 
mean a marriage license to satisfy the laws of the 
land, but your landlord or his wife had to be ap- 
proached and the matter of your son or daughter's 
intended marriage laid before them, and their con- 
sent and approval asked — and, as I have already 
informed the reader, a license had to be obtained to 
worship their God according to their conscience and 
their creed, and all this iron rule emanating from 
Protestant England, bah ! who boasted of setting 
free the slaves of her West Indian possessions at a 
cost of some twenty millions sterling, and yet less 

Scenes end Incidents in Irish Life. 43 

expense, debate and commotion would have secured 
the love and devotion undying of a nobler race, far 
nearer to the throne, if not to the heart of Britain. 
Had she only remembered the old adage, " charity 
begins at home," as well as chastisement, her Irish 
children would have risen up and called her blessed. 
But, alas, to-day it is far otherwise. But some will 
say it is because of religion ; that it is only the 
Eoman Catholics who are plotting rebellion all the 
time, through a religious animosity. That may be 
true in some instances. But, what if it is, what 
wonder if Protestant Mohammedanism was loathed 
and despised by the pious, high-spirited Irish 
Eoman Catholic, when he saw the Bible and sword 
merge into one. It will be found, however, that 
many of the prominent leaders in Irish revolts and 
rebellion were Protestants. Nor were they the 
dregs of the people, as some would have the 
world to believe, but educated, enthusiastic patriots. 
Lacking cool judgment and patience, a deepen 
knowledge of human nature, the steam of their 
ardour enveloping them in a mist, they sadly 
miscalculated or misinterpreted the doctrine of 
cause and effect, and thereby sadly injured the cause 
— produced no effect, or an evil one. The highest- 
tempered steel will snap soonest if over bent, 

41 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

therefore the Celtic spirit of the sons of Erin will 
never submit to cold iron rule or misrule of an 
autocratic English minister. 

Gladstone in the present day is playing some- 
what a similar role to that of Cromwell in his 
day, when religious factions and fanatics struggled 
and fought for the ascendancy, ever ready to 
sacrifice anything upon their filthy altars, if there- 
by they could accomplish their unholy desires. Of 
this state of things Cromwell took advantage, and 
being, a low, coarse fellow and void of principle 
or feeling, favored one or other party as occasion 
required. Presbyterian and Independents were 
his two dogs, which he fed or flogged in turn, 
regardless of religion or the cause of Christ, but 
regardful of his own vanity and villainy. But, con- 
sidering all things, there may be some excuse for the 
conduct of Cromwell, when we take into considera- 
tion the religious and political state of the country, 
and the utter confusion and disorder that reigned 
supreme. The Protestant picture of the times is a 
disgrace to humajiity, not to say Christianity ; and 
the crown and realm or constitution of England has 
more cause to fear her Protestant subjects than 
Roman Catholics. 

To depopulate Ireland and to scatter her once 

Scene* and Incidents in Irish Life. 45 

happy children among the nations of the earth 
may appear a grand aim and wise, and as worthy of 
a great statesman, and as being the only way to put 
an end to a troublesome people, and break their 
power. But to this I would say, let no patriot ever 
advocate such a movement. If a surplus popula- 
tion will remove and seek their fortunes in other 
lands, well ; but a home guard must keep the forts 
and citadel by hook or crook. The dear old homes 
must be kept in order, the fires kept burning on the 
dear old hearths, around which we all assembled as 
children, boys and girls, to hear the fairy tales and 
ghost stories when the day's work was over, or dance 
and sing with harmless innocence, and glad to see 
the jovial face of the wandering bard, fiddler or piper, 
who, enjoying the hospitality gladly accorded him 
as a most welcome friend, gave in return the lively 
strains of jig, reel or hornpipe, and anon the sweet 
and touching note of some well-known popular air, 
which at once secured an attentive audience and 
elicited the well-known words of approval or ap- 
plause, " Bravo, Billy, more power to you, that is a 
grand air!" May I not be pardoned if I ejaculate, 
that I could see the same once again, and taste 
the sweets of such innocent rural enjoyment. Awake 
my countrymen and women, forget not the dear old 

46 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

homes. - Perish the hand that would sever the ties 
that bind us to the graves of our forefathers, the 
homes that they reared and loved, and around which 
lingers yet the echo of their voices in song and 
laughter ; yea, perish crown, throne or constitution 
rather than that the sacred hearths and homes of our 
childhood should he invaded by strangers and dese- 
crated by the tread of the adventurer. 

It is no favor, nor kindness, nor considerate regard, 
nor act of humane liberality that would make 
Britain place her ships at the disposal of the " poor, 
half-starved Irish to convey them to some foreign' 
shore " to get rid of them, that their homes might 
be given to strangers, the owl or the bat, rather 
than to them. Such an act is only to sow the seeds 
of hatred, to spring up an hundred fold, to multiply 
the instruments of revenge and death, upon a foreign 
soil, in the birth of every Irish son and daughter, who 
shall be told at their mother's knee of the wrongs 
and injuries endured at the hands of the British 
Government. History will be raked up to prove that 
such has been the policy of England in the past, when 
her ships cast anchor in the mouth of the river 
Gaspereau in Acadia, now Nova Scotia, in the last 
century, when the simple-minded Acadian farmer, 
priests and people, were hustled into those vessels 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 47 

like cattle and scattered along the coast. Colonel 
Winslow having assembled those simple people in 
their accustomed place of worship, read to them for 
the first time, the king's orders, to break up their 
community and happy homes, and scatter them to the 
four winds of Heaven, may I add, because they 
were not Englishmen and women and Protestants, 
and, not unlike the Irish, had no great love for 
British rule, and were faithful to their friends. He 
added thus, it is peremptorily His Majesty's orders 
that all of the inhabitants of this colony be removed, 
and, moreover, through His Majesty's goodness (sic) 
you are at liberty to carry off any money you may 
possess (and it must have been little they did pos- 
sess) and household goods, without discommoding 
the ships, and piously adding, as if to add insult to 
injury : u in whatsoever part of the world you may 
fall I trust you may be faithful subjects a peaceful 
and happy people." But, to add further to the 
cruelty of the whole thing : the poor people were 
in total ignorance of the doom which awaited them 
until they had gathered in their harvest, which was 
all confiscated, and appropriated by the British. 
From the decks of the vessels, And from the woods, 
where some had fled, those poor people witnessed 
their once happy homes in flames. I need not 

48 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

dwell further upon the harrowing scenes thus 
depicted in the pages of history. I only introduce 
what I have, to show that Ireland's people would 
not have been the first to fare thus, nor would it be 
a new policy inaugurated by England to do so now. 
Had the natures and dispositions of the Irish been 
studied, and their undying and intense love of home 
and the land of their birth been considered, together 
with their affectionate impulses and enthusiastic 
ratures, England could have bound them to her 
throne, and secured the affection and devotion of a 
noble people. But her policy has had a contrary 
tendency and effect, and I fear that it has been 
" opportunity lost never to be recalled. " 

Eoman Catholics have been insulted and abused 
to please a base Protestant Christianity, and, in 
turn, the Irish church has been robbed ruthlessly 
and basely to please Eoman Catholics, and Trinity 
College, Dublin, has been thrown open to schismatic 
sectarians, and the result is that all unite, save a 
minority, to detest and despise the power that could 
act with such duplicity and injustice — and here a 
pertinent question is suggested : if it was only 
justice to fleece and deprive the church of Ireland 
of endowments given her out of the spoils of an 
oppressed and plundered people, why not do likewise 

Seenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 40 

to the landlords, whose forefathers grasped with 
cruel greed the possessions of the proscribed Irish 

To show the truth of what I have already asserted, 
that Irish Eoman Catholics are not and were not 
all that they have been accused of being, I assert, 
without fear of contradiction, that no English Pro- 
testants would have submitted to such a tax as 
tithe, to support Eoman Catholicism, as the Eoman 
Catholics have done for many a year, and with the 
most wonderful patience, while compelled to support 
the National church, upon which they looked as an 
institution of a detested British Government. 

They had, moreover, to support and maintain their 
own church and clergy, to which they were deeply 
devoted and warmly attached ; nevertheless, though 
I have lived in the midst of a Eoman Catholic popu- 
lation for years, even in the famous county of 
Tipperary, where I was born and lived to the years 
of manhood, I never knew of an instance of a reli- 
gious quarrel, or strife or j alousy, either on the part 
of laity or clergy, but on the contrary, the most 
perfect harmony. Such cannot be said of the popula- 
tion of Ulster, where the Protestant population pre- 
ponderate, where Orangeism flaunts its insulting colors 
and paraphernalia in the faces of their Eoman Catholic 

50 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

brethren, and persist in a course at once uncatholic 
and unchristian. This I take to prove to a demon- 
stration, that the Roman Catholic of the sacred isle 
is as peaceable and good a subject of the British 
Crown as any Protestant, nor would that be saying 
much for them, but, on the contrary, very little, I 
shall illustrate what I have said by narrating some 
incidents of which I am personally cognizant, the 
recital of which makes my heart and soul glow 
within me, and sigh for " the days that are gone," 

" And the friends of old 
And the scenes round the old, old home, 
When the sunlight shone 

On meadow and wold 
And our hearts were not given to roam.'» 

Before the time of the famine in Ireland, when the 

black or blight struck the potato — the then staple 

article of food with both middle and laboring 

classes, and a delightful vegetable the Irish lumper 

was, white, sweet and mealy — if you walked into 

any farmer's house about dinner-time, a coarse clean 

cloth was seen upon the table, the maid having 

strained off the water from the pot of potatoes, some 

member of the family held up the corners of the 

cloth to prevent the potatoes rolling off on the floor, 

plates or dishes being considered superfluous for them; 

knives were then laid around for each person. In 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 51 

the middle of the table a large plate of butter was 
set, and from which each one helped him or herself, 
bit by bit, as it was placed upon the potatoe, to be 
bitten off, or, if the potatoe was a small one, to be 
bolted at one mouthful, some peeling the potato 
with their thumb-nails in preference to using the 
knife. A wooden noggin of butter-milk was also set 
beside each person. This wooden noggin was in 
fact a miniature bucket, with one stave protruding 
some four or five inches, or continued beyond the 
rest, for a handle, only that it was usually turned 
out of a block — not a very convenient vessel to 
sup out of, I must confess ; but before delf mugs, 
with handles on the side, were introduced, no one 
found fault ; they were always well and thoroughly 
cleansed in scalding water, dried, and set upon the 
dresser, mouth downwards, all gracefully at the 
slope, as the soldier would say, on account of the 
one leg. The pewter plates and dishes shone 
brightly above them, arranged in echelon and with 
some ostentation, on the part of the house wife. They 
were only used when there w T as a herring for each, 
or on state days and holidays when the luxury of 
bacon and cabbage, goose and turkey, or " staggering 
bob " (a name given to young or unfed veal), were on 
the bill of fare. Often have I known salt and sour 

52 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 

buttermilk, as the only variety or sauce to induce the 
palate to perform its duty. And still never a 
grumble escaped the lips of this hard-working honest 
people, if only the rent could be met on gale day. 

The day's work over, and all gathered around the 
roaring turf fire, over which hung the pot of potatoes 
for supper. In the meantime the fiddle, flute, or 
Irish-pipes struck up a lilt, which at once dispelled all 
feeling of weariness, and in answer to the pressing 
call of the happy group, some light-hearted son of 
the soil was in an instant on the floor with his fair 
and bashful partner, nimbly footing a soul-stirring 
Irish jig or reel, taking hands and changing places' 
as the impulse took them, and apparently forgetful 
and unmindful of all the cares of life. 

Poor Goldsmith's soul felt all the delights of such, 
and under the heat of inspiration imparted the 
witching charm to stir the soul of others, and after 
his simple and unsophisticated mind had ceased to 
work and his honest heart had ceased to pulsate, he 
would, from the silence of his tomb, tell us in sweetest 
language of the Eden days of Erin, 

" How often have I blest the coming day, 
When toil remitting lent its turn to play. 
* ' *■ *• * * # # 

The dancing pair that simply sought renown 
By holding out to tire each other down. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 53 

These were thy charms sweet village ! sports like these, 
With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to please ; 
These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed 
These were thy charms — but all these charms are fled. 

Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen, 
And desolation saddens all the green ; 
One only master grasps the whole domain,* 
And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain. 


And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand, 
Far, far away thy children leave the land. 
Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, 
Where wealth accumulates and men decay. 
Princes and lords may flourish or may fade, 
A breath can make them as a breath has made ; 
But a bold peasantry, a country's pride, 
When once destroyed can never be supplied. 

These were prophetic words, and have in their 
sweetness a most melancholy and funereal sound, 
which saddens the soul, and, still more so, w r hen we 
realize the fact, that it is not the poet's imaginary- 
picture of what may come to pass, but, alas, only the 
too faithful picture of what has come to pass. 

The blight having struck the potatoe, at once a sad 
change takes place : the people, compelled to live 
from hand to mouth, chiefly through oppression and 
the avariciousness of the landlord, were unable to 
bear the loss for a day, and grim famine and death 
stared them in the face, and stalked through the land 
with all their attendant horrors. Some few of the 

54 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

genuine Irish landlords remained in the midst 

of their tenantry, and with their families ministered to 

the wants of the poor suffering people ; but the 

English adventurer, barred up the windows and 

doors, and, leaving a servant to take care of the 

back kitchen, betook himself to a more genial soil, 

and left his less fortunate fellow-creatures to struggle 

as they might for dear life. 

I was then a mere boy, but I well remember the 

old schoolmaster — 

" A man severe lie was, and stern to view, 
I knew him well and every truant knew ; " 

clad in blue cloth, swallow-tailed coat with brass 
repealer buttons ornamenting it, corduroy knee- 
breeches and long yellowish- white woollen stockings 
and greased pumps or brogues, made after the fashion 
of the times — straight, no right or left, to avoid con- 
fusion in the dark or in haste. His old high-crowned 
hat (stove-pipe as they call them in Canada) hung 
on the wall beside a tin gallon or two. His old 
partner sat in the chimney-corner by the fire, which 
was kept burning by each boy carrying a sod of turf 
or two under his arm every morning to school. I 
was always spared that by my father sending a load 
or two of turf now and again, which was carefully 
piled up in the turf corner, beside the fireplace, and 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 55 

over which was the hen- roost ; — the hens never less- 
ened the turf anything to speak of. 

What always chilled my blood and struck terror 
to my heart was a boy being flogged, or, as it was 
euphoniously styled, hoisted. That is, the unfortu- 
nate truant or incorrigible was ordered to stand out, 
unbutton the rear part of his corduroys, a larger boy 
took him on his back, holding him by the hands, 
sometimes a most painful office to fill, as some of 
the more hardened ones generally held a pin between 
his teeth and which he plunged into the back of the 
neck of the boy holding him, who roared out, and 
often let go the culprit, or sometimes the latter let 
fly his heels for the master's nose, once carrying 
away his pipe, causing the enraged master to exclaim : 
u w, blud-an-ouns, my foin, briar-shanked pipe, that 
I bought at the last fair of Banagher, and paid four- 
pence for it, you onmannerly blaggard, I'll flail 
you." The scourge usually used was a number of 
small osiers bound together. 

The son of the old schoolmaster alluded to, was to me 
like Sinbad the Sailor's old man of the woods, a hun- 
gry, long, lank-looking chap, with his arms too long 
for the sleeves of his old corduroy jacket, and his 
two legs, in the same superfluous predicament, looked 
painfully strained, his bare feet looking of a hue be- 

56 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

tween black and red, from being forced downwards, 
like a bad performer standing upon his head. But 
to tell the truth it was whispered, that his nether 
garments were a small knee-breeches which was given 
to him as a matter of necessity, which, while being 
the mother of invention, proved in time of need a 
mother to him, and had to know a law for once, 
even that of decency. 

I always brought my lunch in my satchel, and a 
plentiful one, put up by my poor mother. Knowing 
there was bread enough in my father's house and 
to spare — though not so with regard to potatoes — he 
always bargained with me for my lunch — some- 
times a week in advance — for a fishhook or two or 
someting of the sort. As it came to the noontide hour? 
whether he went by the position of the sun astrono- 
mically or the condition of the son gastronomically 
I never asked, though I guessed, he always threw 
me the sign Cancer as he passed through the door to 
the back of the old house, where he always pretended 
to keep his accounts scratched upon a stone. As I 
produced the contents of my satchel his fingers 
crawled all over it, as he clutched it, but it was 
truly surprising how the ammunition went down his 
long barrel without ramrod or other visible contri- 
vance. Sometimes I was somewhat perplexed to find 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 57 

my indebtedness continue and my daily fast pro- 
tracted ; he never seemed to grow weary. I did. 

He would talk grammatical riddles to me, having 
first instructed me in the elements of his grammar, 
his favorite sentence was bread don't forget, forgot, 
got-for; "do you understand your grammar, your 
tense, say it," I was provoked, but afraid, so I made 
up to say : " I can tell you something I have learned 
or thought-Bread a noun singular," and I emphasized 
the latter ; " say adjective," he roared; u yes" said I, 
" from ad to and jecto, I cast, and present forget, past 
forgot, future for-gut." " Give me back what I gave 
you," he shouted. " And what about what I gave 
you ? " said I. I was almost free; he changed his tone 
to hold me. So I fed him for a time longer, until my 
poor father found it out, and gave me instructions, 
which I communicated to him, and so got released 
from the jaws of hunger if not of death, but the poor 
wretch was missing one morning, when we found he 
had been sent off to a distance and got into the poor 
house, as the old couple were unable to feed him. 

To show still further the state of the country at 

this time : — the potatoes had just been dug, such as 

they were, the crop being a total loss with some. 

The Roman Catholic priest, Father Matt, as we 

called him, was our next-door neighbor, he happened 


58 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

to be fortunate enough to possess a few stone of 
potatoes, but to put them in a pit known to every- 
body, as usual, was out of the question, as the posi- 
tion of parish priest would not protect him from 
being robbed, when a potatoe famine and worse was 
in the land, so after dark he went to the garden, 
accompanied by his niece, dug a trench, and put the 
potatoes into it, and covered them level with the 
surface, and retired to his house, feeling satisfied 
that his few potatoes were safe. But, lo ! in the 
morning he was at our door in the greatest state of 
excitement, to tell my father and mother, that some 
base wretch had found out the hiding-place of his 
few potatoes, and had carried them clean away. 

For some time after this we had not had a potatoe 
for dinner. It was bread and meat and vegetables ; 
and vegetables and meat and bread, of which one 
soon grew tired. My poor mother seemed to feel 
the loss of the potatoes more than any of the rest 
of us. One day, however. Father Matt presented 
himself at the door with six nice potatoes on a plate, 
to present to my mother, a most acceptable present 
it was. The truth was the good-natured priest had 
been sent a present of a dozen, and, knowing the 
great desire of my poor mother for a potatoe, shared 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 59 

one half with her, saying that half a loaf was better 
than no bread. 

As may be imagined farmers and laborers were in a 
great strait to live. The Government started some 
public works to employ the needy, but the truth is, 
that a certain favored few who had influence, were 
made overseers, and, while getting the carcase to 
divide to the poor, gave out the head and tail, hoofs 
and tripe, but appropriated the principal parts them- 

The Indian meal distributed kept many from 
starving, it is true, but not from swearing. They 
seemed to loathe it so much, but I have found since 
that this to a great extent was due to their total 
ignorance of the different ways of using and cooking 
it. But ever since the time alluded to, every Irish- 
man, in Ireland, at all events, to the beggar upon the 
high road, detests the sight as well as the sound of 
Indian meal. 

Had the English Government invested the money, 
which was spent or rather thrown away upon public 
works and Indian meal, peelers and prosecutions, 
in the purchase of vast estates which were in the 
landed estates courts, and scarcely commanding a 
purchaser, and become the landlord of the people, 
at a low rent, which would have produced a high 

60 Sceries and Incidents in Irish Life. 

percentage of profit for the money invested, or en- 
couraged and aided the people to purchase their own 
holdings, the loyalty and devotion of the Irish 
would have been a certainty, as also their prosperity. 
Incipient rebellions would no longer find favor or 
encouragement. For a contented and prosperous 
people, with a deep interest in the soil, through 
security of tenure, proceeding from the throne, will 
not hastily overthrow or destroy that which is their 
strength or source of peace and prosperity. 

But England, blind and bigoted, suffered the very 
cream of her Irish subjects to seek their fortunes in 
other climes, who, with the smallest encouragement 
or assistance, would have remained in the homes 
that they loved. 

But they poured into another country, where a 
Government waited with open arms to receive them, 
and which they, in turn, helped to build up, and 
enrich, but to menace England's decaying prestige 
and possessions with the very arms and hearts of 
her own children, estranged by indifference and lack 
of foresight. 

The bloated, puffed-up figures of a few vain 
nobles or titled ones, with their horses and dogs ; 
crowded out of view the hearts and hands, the bone 
and sinew of the country ; its peasantry, whose de- 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 61 

parting wails and farewells of sorrow were smothered, 
by the vaunting high-sounding tones of indifference 
which lulled to sleep and closed the ears of those in 
power, or rather in weakness, and the eyes that 
should have looked, and the ears that should have 
heard, and rendered judgment and justice, and seen 
that every servant in the great household of the state 
was cared for, relegated the power to others, in- 
terested and selfish, who strengthened themselves 
by weakening the state, and enriched themselves by 
impoverishing the country. 

Until we find a man stand forth in the midst of 
his vast estates, and hear his own voice, in the 
silence and solitude of desolation, say : I am monarch 
of all I survey, but, more truly still, I am lord of 
the fowl and the brute. 

When an enemy comes thundering some day at 
the gates of Windsor or Balmoral will England 
recruit for her army and navy in the United States 
or even Canada. No. Emigration does not make the 
Irish exile more pliable, simple-minded, and depen- 
dent and willing to accept a paltry shilling a day for 
the honor of wearing Her Majesty's uniform, or 
fighting the battles of England. Far, very far other- 
wise, notwithstanding the complimentary addresses 
presented to a Governor General or any other notable. 

62 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

The truth of what I have just said I would illus- 
trate from another source, but parallel. In Canada 
where the French population have many traits of 
character in common with the Irish, the hab- 
itants are naturally simple-minded, hardworking 
but happy. They will assemble together and dance 
and sing and laugh boisterously. Most attentive 
and regular in their religious duties, obedient to 
their priests. But, once across the lines, amongst 
the more independent, wide-awake American, they 
return changed beings, and with very changed 
views and feelings. The Roman Catholic church 
realizes all this, and when her influence is felt in 
the Provincial Legislature of the Province of Quebec 
we hear of the grand scheme of repatriation being 
encouraged, and propositions for appropriations to 
promote that end urged. 

0, that the wisdom of England had*culminated in 
a repatriation movement in the halls of her Legisla- 
ture half a century ago. Her position to-day would 
be more undoubted in the affections of her people and 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 



Rural Scenes and Incidents. 

^Wp|BOUT eighty years ago, upon a November eve, 
or All-souls, a happy domestic scene might 
have been witnessed in an old mansion in a 
part of the County of Gal way, Gurteen Lodge. 
The house was one of that class frequently to be 
met with throughout the country : the stones dark 
with age, great, high, massive chimneys rising up 
amongst the surrounding trees, and the blue smoke 
that curled upwards, told a tale of existing peace 
and pleasure in connection with warm hearths and 
hearts, irradiating this truly Irish home. O how 
much is in this word, home, to the reflecting mind ; 

But what pen can portray the thoughts that 
sweep through the soul of the exile whose reflective 
mind unceasingly conjures up scenes for ever fled. 
home, sweet home, on Erin's soil, intoxicate this 
soul with thy memories : 

Tho' far from thy shores for many long years 

My feet have a stranger's* soil prest, 
Still thy memory comes with a gush of fond tears, 

Sweet home of my youth in the west, 

64 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 

The genuine Irish son or daughter will pardon 
digressions. Like as a child sent on an errand on a 
summer's day turns aside from time to time to chase 
a tempting butterfly or pluck a smiling flower and 
resume its journey, so will the author to the end of 
the book, which is written, not for the eye of the liter- 
ary critic, but to cheer and enable the soul of an 
Irish brother or sister to revel in the midst of the 
gushing memories of happy times. 

The old spreading trees surrounding the build- 
ing were beech, ash and elm, and truly venerable in 
appearance they were. The laurel and quick-set 
hedges that branched off right and left from the lawn 
gate lent a charm to the whole scene not soon to be 

From the avenue gate a great double row of horse 
chestnuts spanned the way until you reached a grove 
of great high trees, from the tops of which a deafening- 
chorus of crows was vigorously kept up, like the 
continuous roar of a waterfall ; the jack-daws holding 
their own on a smaller scale about the buildings in 
the ivy or chimneys. The wind roared in fitful gusts 
through the trees, as if it would tear up those old 
monarchs of the park by the roots ; but many a 
battle of the same sort they stood before, and now, 
like proud, stubborn and trusty sentinels, refused to 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 65 

quit the honorable post of guarding the way to the 
old manor, but used the tempest to wave their 
majestic plumes, and salute with a roar the beloved 
members of the family and their guests, peer or 
peasan t 

Great dark clouds scudded athwart the sky, like 
mighty monsters multiform, rushing headlong. 
The partridge uttered her hoarse call to her 
companions, scattered through the day by the 
sportsmen, whose well-filled game-bags suggested the 
idea that many a poor bird had called or respon- 
ded to the last roll-call the previous evening. 
The shrill and lonely call of the peewit or green- 
plover as it swept across the moor with a whirr, 
seemed to heighten the loneliness and wildness of the 
place and night, while at the same time it added an 
indescribable charm to the whole, calling to mind the 
legend in connection with the peewit, as having 
been introduced into the country by the invading 
Danes, as a sentinel about their camps, an invalu- 
able and trusty one, and never found napping, but, 
upon the approach of the most stealthy, uttered its 
piercing shrill cry, pee-e-e-wit. The close proximity 
of the remains of a Danish fort still further heightened 
the imagination of the romantic one, together with 
the current stories of a superstitious, simple-minded 

66 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

It was believed that the bones of many a savage 
Dane and Christian soldier of our Celtic forefathers, 
lay mingled together beneath the soil, whereon they 
fell, when struggling for the mastery, nine centuries 
ago — the latter fighting for his religion, hearth and 
home, under the glorious banner of the Cross, the 
former for plunder and against the Cross. Indeed 
it was a current belief that at certain times still 
might be heard the clashing of swords and rattling 
of armor, as the otherwise silent but fierce contest 
was waged over again, whilst a fiery cross might be 
seen moving to and fro, to encourage the Christian 
spirits, but to discourage and terrify the Christian 
body possessing too much or too little spirits, and 
undoubtedlly too lively an imagination for the hour 
and the place. 

Not far off, on the opposite side of the avenue, and 
hidden amongst the trees, stood the remains of 
an old abbey, thickly covered with ivy. This was 
inhabited by a couple of owls and many bats. A 
few old tombstones lay half hidden beneath the 
long grass, weeds and bushes, which no one would 
cut. The remains of an old square tomb was traceable 
under the old chancel window, which was almost 
quite hidden by the thick foliage of the ivy. It 
was the current tradition that this tomb contained 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 67 

the ashes of a priest who, while celebrating mass, was 
surprised by the Danes, as also his congregation, and 
murdered with many others. Their crime being 
aggravated by the trampling underfoot the crucifix, 
which no doubt they thought was a god like their 
own. However, in consequence of which act of 
profanation the impious foe rest not, but hear the 
priest and Christian dead chanting mass to God, 
which but adds to their own chagrin and torments, 
and so must continue to the day of judgment. 

Near to this tomb was a horizontal tombstone, 
but broken across the middle, with a rude figure of 
an angel at the top, and immediately beneath it the 
following lines, nearly effaced by the hand of Time. 
They ran thus : — 

Here lies the body of Mary Crane, 

Of lords, dukes and earls she came, 
Yet begged her bread from door to door, 

And ne'er in vain did she implore. 
Now o'er her ashes lightly tread, 

And kneel and'say — God rest the dead ! 

It was said that such a person was remembered 
by some of the oldest inhabitants, that she was of 
noble family, an old maid, received her daily bread 
at the hands of the poor, and slept by their firesides, 
a welcome guest, and held in reverence; and when she 
died a subscription was taken up at the chapel after 

68 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

mass to bury her decently under a tombstone, as 
mentioned. These were the immediate surroundings 
or not distant outposts, of the venerable old man- 

The noisy occupants of the old rookery, which 
stretched away to rear of the dwelling are at length 
at rest, swaying to and fro — if such we can call rest — 
but, like the mariner on the bosom of the mighty 
deep, to which he is accustomed, falls peacefully to 
sleep, like a child in its cradle rocked by its mother. 
The noisy and conceited Jack-daw is also silent 
in the old chimney-top. Even the dogs shrink from 
the wild scene without, and, shivering, skulk away 
and curl themselves up in their kennels and forget 
to watch. With every roar of the wind through the 
naked trees the multitude of dry leaves rush like a 
flying, defeated host before the roar and impetuous 
dash of an irresistible and victorious foe, until, whirl- 
ing into by-ways and pathways, they rested with a 
shivering murmur of relief. 

Once the sighing zephyr kissed us, 
When our Hps were sweet with dew, 

Now, with harshest roar, dismissed us, 
For we're withered, — Life adieu. 

The scene within the old home is in striking 
contrast to that without. A bright roaring turf 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 69 

fire in the grate is the centre of attraction, and a con- 
centration of toes, snugly slippered, form a semi- 
circle around it, whilst now and again a howling 
last shook the casements, as if trying to force anb 
entry, causing the old halls and crevices to resound, 
as if hurling back defiance at the attacking blast, 
which died away in the distance, with a hollow roar. 

The master of the mansion who sat reading by the 
light of two mould candles, paused to say : " Eleanor, 
my dear, put on a piece of deal. It is a howling 

Just then another roaring blast seemed to rock 
the house to its very foundation. The lady of the 
house who was knitting, dropped her hands in her 
lap, and with a sigh remarked, " God help those at 
sea to-night," 

" And the poor without fuel/' remarked Eleanor 
as she dropped the piece of deal on the fire, wiiich 
blazed up, enlivening the whole picture. 

The master of the house was a person of about sixty, 
calm deportment and happy expression of counte- 
nance, indicative of a kind heart as husband, father 
landlord and magistrate ; apparently a gentleman 
not much troubled about the rise and fall of stocks in 
the money market. His tenants adored him, his 
servants and laborers loved and served him willingly. 

70 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

No cruelty nor wrong emanated from his heart or 

His partner, a few years his junior, of delicate 
build, but sweet sympathetic face, looked so thought- 
ful that one could see at a glance that she was 
thinking of those less favored than herself with the 
comforts of home and life, and she cast her looks 
towards the large window as each gust of wind with 
smothered roar pressed against it as if she expected 
to see the storm monster enter, or to hear some im- 
ploring voice from without begging for shelter, and 
a share of her happy fireside. But, as if disappointed 
of the longed-for pleasure, she sighed and resumed 
her work. 

The young lady alluded to as Eleanor was 
a girl of about eighteen, she sat between the 
old couple, engaged in making some article of 
dress for some poor families in the neighborhood. 
She had the eyes, face and Uuild of her mother ; 
she was called by the servants and poor, amongst 
whom she continually went, Miss Mary, as they said 
it sounded sweeter than the other — as her name was 
Mary Eleanor. 

On the other side of her father sat her sister Lucy, 
occupied at some fancy work ; she had a laughing 
face and eye and cheerful voice. " How mamma 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 71 

sighs," she remarked, " as if she knew some one was 
clinging to a wreck a mile off the coast, or as if 
poor old Mickey Good was up to his neck in a 
bog-hole, while running after his hat with the piece 
of bacon in it." 

At this remark all had to laugh, for it recalled an 
incident of a few nights before. Old Mickey Good ? 
one of the laboring hands, and a somewhat privileged 
one — having a good deal of dry humor — was given 
a piece of bacon on Saturday night. He put it in his 
hat, an old beaver, high-crowned, a very common thing 
to do. As he was walking across a piece of bog, a 
bag on his back and a stick in his hand, the grease 
began to melt, and, as it coursed down his face, and 
he had forgotten the meat, thought it was perspiration, 
drew the back of his hand across his forehead, and 
disturbed his hat, which rolled off down a slope, with 
the help of the wind, when it just occurred to him 
that the precious bit of bacon for his Sunday's dinner 
was in it. He made a dash after it, stooping two or 
three times to pick it up, kicked it with his foot, 
started it afresh when, just as it was at the edge of a 
bog-hole, he made a desperate charge, caught it, but, 
losing his balance, had to make a jump, landing into 
the middle of a blind bog-hole up to his armpits. At 
the same time he managed to hold on to his hat with 

72 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

the bacon in it, but which he was compelled to throw 
out on the bank, while he struggled to extricate 
himself from his unfortunate position. But a neigh- 
bor just then coming along gave him a hand. In the 
meantime the neighbor's dog smelling about, found 
the meat in the hat, and made off with it. " Hih ! 
hi-i-i, me mate, me bacon. Dhrop that, an' the divil 
cure you, what a tashte ye have for bacon." " What's 
that," says Flannery, who had pulled Mickej^ out of 
the boghole. " The dog, the divil, has taken me bacon, 
said Mickey. " Hello, Caezar, dhrop that," said Flan- 
nery. " The divil saize him and never let go av him," 
said poor Good, ow-wow the clothes are sthick- 
ing to me like the divil. What a tashte he has for 
bacon, — and a raal ould piece it was too, and the 
divil' s luck to him, — I smell it yit, for I got it from 
Miss Mary — the darlint." 

So well he might smell it, for the grease was all 
over his face, and around his nose, in dark streaks 
and clouds. Not having been far from the Hall 
he turned back and entering the kitchen presented 
the most comical and ludicrous picture, which 
was still further enhanced by the serio-comic 
expression of Mickey's face, as he stood, his hat 
under his arm, and he trying to relate his adven- 
ture, word for word, including his anathemas 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 73 

upon the unfortunate Caezar, and begging Miss Lucy's 
pardon, who happened just at the moment to be in 
the kitchen, and was fairly convulsed with laughter^ 
which soon brought the rest of the family on the 
spot, each of whom laughed heartily at the figure 
poor Mickey cut. Every word and movement only 
elicited fresh bursts of merriment, Mickey taking" 
occasional sly looks at some of the servants who 
were in fits looking at him. 

" Holy Mary forgive me for all I cursed this night 
on his account, saving your presence Miss Lucy, and 
the dickens fly away with him." 

He was soon fitted into a good cast-off suit of the 
ould masther's, and another piece of bacon, and went 
on his way rejoicing more than before, none the 
worse, but all the better for his adventure, as also 
the whole family, who had enjoyed a hearty whole- 
some laugh at poor Mickey's expense, as well as 
their own. This is what Miss Lucy alluded to to 
dispel the ghosts of the storm. 

" The sun/' she continued, " is now shining upon 
many a gay crowd and ripening some delicious 
fruit perhaps for us, and elsewhere the moon is 
looking down upon a placid scene, and inspiring 
some love-sick swain, with guitar accompaniment 


74 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

to win the heart of his lady love and charming the 
nightingale into silence." 

" Bacon and bog-hole, guitar and music, love and 
moonshine, what a mixture ! " said Mary Eleanor, 
and what a night for sentimental effusions and 
pictures. Between mamma and Lucy," said she, 
"we get the * chiaro-oscuro, which is refreshing." 
The two girls bursting into a chorus of laughter, 
whilst the old couple smiled, and papa looked over 
his glasses at his smiling partner. 

" Is it not time to call to Kate to get tea," said 
Eleanor, " a cup of which will remind us of sunn y 
climes, mind and mouth co-operating." 

There were two more members of this domestic 
circle, but they were absent, doubtless in the midst 
of far more hilarious, but far less healthy scenes, 
— one was captain in the Lancers and the other 
lieutenant of Hussars. 

The captain was heir to the estate upon the death 
of his father — it being hereditary ; the other was 
to receive a liberal portion, and each daughter her 
own upon coming of age . or at marriage. 

No one would have thought that the following 
day would witness a number of tenants arriving to 
pay their rent, so little did the matter seem to 
* Lights and shades in painting. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 75 

possess the minds of the household or cause any 

Tea over, and the table cleared, plates of apples and 
nuts were set on, when Eleanor remarked to her 
mother : " 1 have just been thinking of those poor 
children and their mother over the road, how sad they 
must feel and lonely ; I think I will run over with a 
few apples and nuts for them, because of the night." 

" Because of the night you should not go, my dear," 
said her mother. 

11 Send John over," said her father, " there is too 
great a storm." 

" It won't blow me away, papa, I will take Kate 
with me, and I want to see how some things I have 
made will suit the children." 

She immediately set about filling her little basket, 
threw a shawl over her head, country-girl style, 
called Kate, and started out. 

It was only a short distance from the avenue 
gate to the cabin of the Widow Kennedy, whose 
husband had died a short time before, his death 
having been accelerated, if not caused, by the cruelty 
of the agent of an adjoining estate, the landlord of 
which spent most of his time in England and on the 
continent. Although he had been born in Ireland 
his parents had been English ; he looked with con- 

76 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

tempt upon the Irish, said they knew nothing about 
farming — no more than pigs. His agent was a young 
man named Gravy, whose father was agent for 
another estate in an adjoining county, and had been 
fired at several times, being universally hated. 

Like father like son, says the old adage. 

Poor Kennedy was ill with fever, and had been 
served with notice to quit. Not that he did not pay 
his rent, but that an English tenant who had rented 
land surrounding at the same rate desired poor 
Kennedy's holding, on which his family had lived 
for some eighty or ninety years past, honest and hard- 

The day of eviction came ; poor Kennedy was 
very ill. The doctor had been to visit him, and went 
and represented Kennedy's state to GraVy, who 
said he was only scheming, and could not be pestered 
with every fellow or old woman who wished to 
plead sickness. The ufrder-agent attended with a 
bailiff and a caretaker or two to take possession, and 
also to seize sufficient to cover some small arrears 
if not otherwise secured. 

"Well, Kennedy/' said the sub-agent, entering 
<' we are come to take possession, what are you going 
to do ? " 

" Whatever you like, to be sure," said poor Ken- 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 77 

nedy, half delirious. "Mary, asthore, get some 
thing ready for the boys." 

The poor wife wrung her hands, and implored to 
be allowed to remain until her husband was better. 
" It will kill him, it will, and what will I do, or 
where will I take him and the childer ? " 

" I am not the master," said the sub-agent "and 
must only do as I am told." 

" Shure take the house and all," said she, " put 
the fire out, and do all you like, only don't take poor 
Jim out av his bed." * 

But the stern necessities of the law override all 
the laws of humanity, and admit of no sentiment. 
What signifies the life of a man, or the tears and 
cries of widow and orphans, when compared with 
the inconvenience of not gettiug possession of a 
cabin and five acres of land upon the day appointed. 

"Mary, asthore, give me a mouthful of wather, I 
was just draming of my poor mother, God rest her 
soul. Am I sick ? " 

The different articles of furniture were being 
put out on the dunghill by the men, when Mary 
D'Arcy and her mother were just passing; they 
stopped to speak to the under-agent, went into the 
cabin, saw the sick man and his wife. Mrs. D'Arcy 
remained and Eleanor hurried away towards home, 

78 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

to speak with her father, who sent the coachman and 
two men with a vehicle to bring poor Kennedy to 
the hall carefully, as also the wife and children. 
Eleanor with a couple of servants and her sister Lucy 
set about clearing and preparing the harness-room 
of the coach house, setting a fine fire blazing, and 
making it as comfortable as possible for the poor 
homeless family and sick man. 

Poor Kennedy was lifted out in his bed tenderly, 
Mrs. D'Arcy .superintending, but with tears streaming 
down her loving face. Poor Kennedy was lifted into 
the car, his poor wife holding his head in her lap, 
and keeping him covered. A shower of rain suddenly 
poured down upon poor Kennedy, wife and children 
without house or home, but not without friends, in 
word and deed and thought. The mournful little 
group soon arrived at the hall, and poor Kennedy 
and his family were soon comfortably located. The 
sick man had everything that money and kind 
hearts could procure him, but he rapidly grew worse. 
As he lay weak and exhausted after a long delirium 
and was trying to collect his thoughts he overheard 
a voice saying, "they pulled down poor Kennedy's 
house to-day." He opened his eyes and looked around 
as if in search of some one, and faintly uttered the 
name of Mary, his wife. " Mary, asthore," he faintly 
whispered, " come here." 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 79 

" What is it, Jim, avic ; I'm here, beside you, do 
you want anything ? " 

" Only you, darlint. Have they pulled down the 
little home we wor married in, and that my poor 
father and mother wor married in afore us, and died 

<c Jim, avic, what put that into your head ? " said 
his poor wife, her heart bursting, as she looked into 
his enquiring face, holding her hand*in his. 

" I don't care for myself, alannah, I will soon be 
in a home where bailiff or landlord wont disturb 
me." Here a burst of grief and loud sobs, inter- 
rupted his words. His poor wife no longer able to 
control herself sobbed out : " Jim, darlint, don't 
kill me, and break my heart, you will soon be better," 
and she smoothed back his hair, as she asked 'him 
if he did not feel better. " I feel easier, asthore," said 
he, u but not bether, where are the childer, allanah ? 
O if I could see the ould mistress and the masther 
and Miss Mary and the ladies it \*ould do me good." 

Just then Eleanor entered with some things on a 
plate for poor Kennedy, and was told by the sick 
man's wife, what he had just said. 

Poor Kennedy turned his eyes towards Eleanor 
and whispered, " God bless her, she is too good iot 
this cowld world." 

80 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

" Send for the priest, Mary, asthore, I'm goin. 
Hould me up Mary, darlint." 

Just then Mr. and Mrs. D'Arcy entered and spoke 
a few kind encouraging words. " I lave my blessing 
and my prayers to the masther and mistress, Miss 
Mary an all — God forgive my sins, as T forgive all 
my enemies — My poor wife and childer without a 
home — Kiss me Mary, asthore ; it is growing dark 
We'll be late \% vispers — The bell, Mary I hear it." 
And muttering something else he gave a few gasps 
and all was over; poor Mary Kennedy was a widow, 
with three little helpless children, and without house 
or hoine, brought about by cruelty and wrong, — but 
what cared an absent landlord ? This is not an 
extreme case, I have seen the sick wife and mother 
lifted on her bed out on the dung hill ? and the roof 
of the house pulled down to prevent the unfortunate 
evicted ones taking shelter beneath it ; yes I have 
witnessed the family with the sick woman, under 
the rafters, laid against the wall of the house, and 
covered with the sods of earth and old thatch, and 
thankful for that same. 

God only knows what a bitter cup the poor 
peasantry of Ireland have been compelled to drain to 
the dregs from one generation to another, and no 
one to pity. I very much doubt whether the negroes 

Scenes and Incidents in Irisli Life. 81 

of the southern plantations have ever suffered much 
more than the poor Irish ; exclude the question of 
punishment by the lash, and there is no difference. 
The negro was commiserated, but Ireland's popula- 
tion was not. 

But to return to our narrative :— poor Mary 
Kennedy and her children were provided with a 
home by the kind-hearted family at the hall, and it 
was to this family Eleanor bent her steps, to cheer 
their hearts, and add to her own happiness, 

What a load of sorrow is lifted off a crushed and 
heavy heart by kindness and sympathy, but — 
" Man ? s worst enemy is man." 

Eleanor returned after a little, feeling more pleased 
than fatigued, with her visit to the home of the poor 
widow and orphans. 

The members of the domestic circle had once 
more resumed their places at the family board, to 
enjoy some of the fruits of the orchard and hazel 
scrub. Lucy glided over to the piano, and commenced 
to sing a sweet Irish ballad : 

sad is my heart, for my love's far away, 

And the primrose is gone from the lawn, 
The daisy alone for the sun doth delay, 

And first greets his glad ray at the dawn. 
the daisy to me hath a loving eye, 

For it blooms when all others are gone, 
And tho* many a cloud doth darken the sky, 

It still hopes and it waits for the sun, J 

82 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

bear ye the tidings, ye zephyrs of spring, 

To the ears of the sun of my day, 
And say, when the cuckoo is far on the wing 

I am waiting his mellowing ray. 

There was a pathos in both the words and music 
which all felt, and a pause for a few seconds ensued, 
when Mr. D'Arey said, " Lucy, dear, sing that again." 

u Yes, papa," she replied, " if you wish, but 
Eleanor sings it better than I do, she throws more 
feeling into it. Come, Miss Mary," said Lucy play- 
fully, " come sing this for papa, and I will play for 
you, if you prefer it." 

Eleanor quietly glided to the side of her sister and 
in the most mellow and touching tones sang the song. 
But she had more of an audience than she was aware 
of, for, just as she finished, the parlor door opened, 
most unceremoniously, and a visitor stalked into the 
room with a most roguish twinkle, causing a general 
rush and exclamations of surprise and delight. It 
was the lieutenant of Hussars, who exclaimed, " well 
done, Miss Mary, the base music is outside — I don't 
mean my friend here at my heels, Lieutenant Clay- 
more — Mother, Lucy, Eleanor, Father." Every 
thing was done with easy grace, and warm, hospi- 
table, and truly welcome style, that was really re- 
freshing and caused a glow in the heart of Mr. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. S3 

" You are just in time, Henry," said Lucy, " we 
have not consulted the oracle yet as to our future 
destinies so now prepare." 

They had hired a hack from the nearest town, 

Portumna. The man paid with an extra half-crown 

for himself, and a glass of the purest old mountain 

dew, which made him smack his lips, and, with a 

polite touch of his forelock, and long life to your 

honor, he buttoned up his freize coat, and was soon 

trotting away for home, singing some sarcastic ballad 

such as one made not so many years ago, when 

English tyranny enforced the barbarous old curfew 

law — to give it the mildest name — when every one 

caught out of doors after sunset was arrested by the 

peelers, and marched off in state and handcuffs, to 

appear before a Justice of the Peace next day, and 

give an account and particulars of what he was doing 

round the corner of the house, or by the turf clamp ; 

and when asked to explain, the poor culprit blushed, 

he was condemned and held guilty of something. The 

song alluded to ran somewhat in this way : — 

A batch of peelers roved out one night on duty a-patrolling, ; 
They met a goat upon the road and took him to be a stroller, 

With bayonets fixed they sallied forth, and took him by the 
wizzen, 0, 

And thundered out a mighty oath, they'd send him to New 
Zealand, 0. 

84 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

" mercy, sirs," the goat replied, " pray let me tell my story, : 
I am no rogue, nor ribbon-man, a crop, a whig, or a tory, 0. 
I happened just to walk abroad, with no intent of treason, 0, 
But just to meet my sweetheart now, for this is the roving 
season, 0." 

This very sarcastic ballad did not end here, and 
was as good as anything to be found in Rabelais or 
Don Quixote. 

The two gentlemen were shown to their rooms, 
and soon returned, to add to the enjoyment of the 
domestic circle and the brightness of the old home. 
Yet, only as a dream, soon to have passed away, never 
to return. How fortunate we do not thus soliloquise 
and ponder at such times, else what an amount of 
sadness and gloom would brood over all our happy 
moments through life. 

Some pleasant conversation having been indulged 
in, Henry said : " Come, Lucy, introduce us to your 
Oracle. I suppose you are priestess." 

Three plates were put on the table in a row, on 
one was some earth, on the next one water, and the 
third a ring — each respectively signifying death, 
emigration and marriage. The person desirous of 
obtaining an insight into their destiny within the 
future twelve months was blindfolded at a distance, 
then, walking towards the table, with outstretched 
hand, which ever plate was touched twice out of three 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 85 

times told the sad, solemn or joyful secret of the 
future : nor did it always pass off without some secret 
impression, not altogether pleasing, being left upon 
the mind, notwithstanding the laugh of apparent 
indifference and levity. The Irish reader will call 
to mind at once those dear old scenes of long ago, 
and the feelings produced, the ivy leaf in the pail of 
water, etc. 

In this manner the evening was whiled away, 
and time and hearts beguiled until the midnight 
hour pealed forth from the great solemn-looking old 
clock in the hall, and echoed away through the old 
mansion, as it had done often before, regardless of 
the feelings of any, young or old, or of the event 
transpiring, death, birth, marriage or merriment. It 
had witnessed all such like a grim sentinel without 
change of countenance. 

How pleasant it looks, that dear old face 
Of the family clock, in its dark oak case, 
Like a household god in the hall. 

When the world I saw the hour it struck, 
One stunning sound blow, as if given for luck, 
When I — not the hour — did bawl. 

When grandfather died the hour it told, 
As Egyptian darkness had shrouded the wold, 
For the first-born, ghastly in death. 

86 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

Birth, marriage and death : each shifting scene 
5 T has witnessed unmoved ; or, by chorus or keene, 
Just measured out time, length and breadth. 

How soPmn it look'd, after lapse of years ; 
When its di'l and bell caught my eye and my ears, 
I thought, did it recognise me ? 

Tic, tic, tic — there it stood all the time 
That I was away in a sunnier clime, 
Or tossed on the waves of the sea. 

As each eye was closed in sleep,. and each hand 
lay listless across the breast of the sleeper, the heart 
regardless of the fact whether earth, water or ring 
was touched by that hand, or what was written in 
the book of destiny, throbbed away, recking not of 
issues, but of its functions ; the mind, the brain, 
mocked the sleeper by alternate scenes of sunshine 
and shadow, arranged in the most confused and 
incongruous order. Eleanor thought she was married, 
and suddenly her coach turned into a hearse, her 
elder brother the driver ; she could not speak, but lay 
as if playing her part in a ghastly scene on the stage ; 
then she struggled to speak, or move, but in vain. 
Just then a certain Lord French spoke to her, and 
took her by the hand after a nervous manner. She 
shuddered. Suddenly he raised a pistol to his head, 
fired ; she saw the blood spurt out, and screamed. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 87 

The echoes of her own voice increased her terror, as 
she awoke to behold shadows moving in her room, 
like ghosts rising out of the blood of the supposed 
suicide. These weird appearances caused by the 
flickering embers in the grate, and heightened by her 
own excited brain. Her mother was soon beside 
her, only immediately to hear a quiet laugh, and be 
told it was only a dream. 

* * * Sleep hath its own world, 

And a wide realm of wild reality, 
And dreams in their development have breath, 
And tears, and tortures, and touch of joy ; 
They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts. 


88 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 


A Oala Day as well as a Gale Day. — Two thorough- 
ly opposite Irish Scenes. — Rent-Day Dinner 
and Dance. — Supper and Dance over the 

'Come, pay your rents, at all events, 

And down with every copper, 
Or no resaite, much less abate, — 

So John hand round a cropper. 
Now by the mass, we're not that class 

To shirk such honest paying, 
To landlord true and good as you 

There shall be no delaying. 
The rents paid down, without a frown, 

Except a whiskey wrinkle, 
And, better yet, the dinner's set 

With double X to sprinkle ; 
The piper's drones in merry tones 

Strikes up " Jack Welch to Tather," 
The bagpipes squeals, and soon all heels 

Are kicking what's the* matter ? 
Now boys, one spake, there is the wake, 

Across the fields at Kelly's, 
Kespect the dead, now that you're fed : 

For we must dance at Nelly's. 
She'd do the same and no small blame, — 

If she could hear the music, 
Her poor ould bones are like the drones 

A roarin there for Cusick. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 89 

The following morning, breakfast over, somewhat 
late, the master of Gurteen Lodge was already in 
his office, his son beside him, with a genial smile and 
warm shake of the hand for all, and hearty welcome 
home in return. There was a total absence of all 
snobbery or cold " how dye-do on the part of the gal- 
lant, good-natured young soldier, a true son of the 
soil ; and upon the other hand there was a total absence 
of the stern business look of the grasping, greedy 
man-of-the-world. In the look and bearing of this 
genuine Irish landlord, a true-born gentleman — none 
of your English chandler or grocer, smelling of grease 
or groceries, nor Macclesfield weaver with shining 
hands smelling of wool and the loom, trying to play 
gentleman, Jew and jack-ass at the same time, 
reminding one of the fable of the ass in the lion's 

This class of people have overrun Ireland of late 
years, — barely human, no humanity, speculators, the 
curse of the country, hated by the people, and small 
blame to the Irish, if history is to be trusted — more 
of this anon. 

One thing very conspicuous by absence was a 
middle-man. If there was one he was in the back 
ground, and was not there giving any confidential 
looks or nods of ulterior significance. 


90 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

The gentleman farmer and the peasant, humble 
farmer of few acres, stepped to the table in turn, 
paid his rent, and received his receipt with some 
kind words of encouragement, and expressions of 
hope that the crops were good and the cattle and 
sheep prosperous. 

" Yes, your honor, I can't complain." 

" Very glad to hear it," was the reply. 

" God bless your honor and spare you long to us, 
andal] your family." *' 

Here is Mrs. Mary Mulcahy, a widow, she rents a 
little farm of some ten acres at twenty shillings an 
acre. As she comes forward she is saluted with, 
" How do you do, Mrs. Mulcahy." 

" Well, your honor ; welcome home, Misther Henry, 
and sure we're all glad to see you and that you're 
not kilt by the wars. Bigor it makes the ould place 
smile to see you, sur, back again." 

u Thank you, Mrs. Mulcahy, I thought I would 
see all my old friends if I got here for to-day. v 

" I think he wants to dance a reel with yourself, 
, Mrs. Mulcahy, chimed in Mr. D'Arcy," good-natu- 
redly, for he remembers you are one of the best 
dancers in the barony ; at this there was a loud 
laugh, and a good many blushes followed each other 
over the modest, pleasant, and not displeased, face of 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 91 

the widow, who was a woman of about fifty years 
and of ruddy complexion. 

" Arrah, your honor, Mr. Henry would rather 
dance wid some of the young girls than wid the loiks 
of an ould woman loike me, who ought to be makin 
her soul." A hearty laugh was indulged in by all in 
the room. 

u I was sorry to hear of your loss," said Mr. 
D'Arcy in a changed, sympathetic tone. 

Ct 0, bigor, sur, it couldn't be helped," said the 

Henry D'Arcy asked what it was that happened, 
and was told that a fine cow, within a few weeks of 
being a new milch cow, was found drowned in a bog 
hole, and for which she hoped to receive ten or 
twelve pounds to meet the rent. 

The poor woman, however, took out of her little 
purse two five pound notes, and quietly laid them 
on the table. Mr. D'Arcy filled and signed her 
receipt and passed it to his son with some tele- 
graphic look, who took it, and folded it up, and 
quietly handed it to her, but with it was also one 
of the five pound notes The poor woman's eyes 
filled with tears, and she endeavored to express her 
gratitude, but in vain. Henry made a good-natured 
gesture for her to be silent, but her heart was too 

92 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

full to be repressed iu its gushings, a kindly murmur 
soon ran through the room, and tears stood in the 
eyes of stalwarth men — no one jealous because of her 
good fortune, but touched and moved to tenderness 
by the kind thoughtfulness of their landlord and 
the manly graceful act of the son. Just then, had 
occasion offered, there was not a man in that room 
or around that mansion, who would not have shed 
the last drop of his blood in the defence or cause of 
the family of Gurteen Lodge. 

So firmly does kindness and justice bind the hearts 
of the Irish people to their benefactors and friends 
that seldom, indeed, has such a family as the one 
before us cause to fear molestation or murder. I 
feel I might add with all sincerity : palsied be the 
tongue which saith otherwise. Base, envious 
unprincipled scoundrels are to be found in every 
community, but surely 

* * * He must be a fool 

Who dares conclude exceptions make the rule. 

All the tenants of the D'Arcy family who were 
present this day were hospitably entertained. And 
by the time the last person had paid his rent and 
laid certain matters before the landlord in connection 
with his holding, the whole hfluse was ablaze with 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 93 

lights from top to bottom, lanterns glided to and 
fro, men talked in little knots of two and three, in 
and out of doors, and many a hearty Irish laugh 
bespoke the lightsome heart. The great barn was 
lit up, and long tables ran its length and doubled 
back again. Mrs. Mulcahy, with two or three 
neighboring farmers' daughters were already pressed 
into the service for the evening, and were busy 
carrying and setting on the tables, under the super- 
vision of the coachman butler, turkeys and geese 
and sheep and pigs, &c. 

Turkeys and geese, whose rougher notes 

Gave way to roughest stops, 
For once they pulled down wheat and oats 

Which caused their loss of crops. 

If such reverses did befall 

Poor luckless feathered fowl 
What wonder, then, if piggy's bawl 

Became a basso -growl. 

Although you may attach to Ham 

The beastly name of swine, 
Quite certain of this fact I am, 

It settles well with wine. 

The lowing kine and bleating sheep 
Which wandered o'er the green, 

Their death makes jars and bottles weep 
Forth tears of grand potheen. 

94 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

Yes, the tables literally groaned under the 
weight of good things, and was the cause of making 
many of the guests groan because they could not, 
consistent with safety and hopes of a successful 
journey home, stow any mora in the holding capacity 
of their skins, to make use of a New Testament 
revision word, so as to give no jar to excitable or 
over sensitive feelings. 

After the dinner was over the health of the 
host and hostess was proposed by a neighboring 
gentleman. O what a cheer was given — it startled 
the very rooks of the rookery. 

The Eoman Catholic priest, who was an invited 
guest, stood up, and in a very neat and glowing 
speech proposed the health of the ladies, including 
the hostess with her fair daughters. It would, he 
said, be superfluous, if not impertinent, for him to 
set forth the reason why their highest and noblest 
enthusiasm should burst into a perfect blaze at such 
a signal. 

The Eector of the parish supported the toast of 
his reverend brother, Father Mathew, whom all 
creeds respected and loved. He felt he dared not 
say anything else where the ladies were, as they 
considered Father Mathew the only man who could 
lay the horse-whip or blackthorn successfully about 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 95 

the ears of their husbands and sweethearts, when 
delaying in fairs and markets to practise phlebotomy 
and cool down their ardor, if not their ardent 
spirits. As to the ladies of the toast they are 
known and loved in hut and hall, far and near. As 
he concluded vociferous cheering ensued ; nor were 
the two young Hussars forgotten. After which the 
blind piper struck up, the tune of " The Gallant 
Hussar." After which Mr. D'Arcy instructed the 
musician to strike up for the guests the well known 
reel called " Welcome Here Again." 

The tables were now cleared and removed, where- 
upon the parish priest and Mrs. D'Arcy, Mr. 
D'Arcy and the Eector's wife, young D'Arcy and 
Mrs. Mulcahy, the Rector and Miss D'Arcy, 
Lieutenant Claymore and Miss Mary, led off and 
opened the dance, the piper striking up the well- 
known Irish reel, u Off She Goes." 

England, if Ireland is a hot-bed of riot and 
rebellion it is thy fault, and that she is not the 
hot-bed of love and loyalty, which latter are the 
indigenous products of her soil and souls. 

1 must here record the words of a talented, learned 
and good Irishman, obscure it may be to a certain 
extent, yet widely known as the author of that 
most pathetic charming ode, " The Burial of Sir 

96 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

John Moore." Educated for a few years in England, 
he finished his education within the precincts of 
dear old Trinity College, Dublin. Here is what he 
says of and how he describes the Irish character : 
" The Irish possess a greater capability of good or 
evil than any other nation upon the face of the 
globe. There is a quietness of intellect, a vivacity 
of fancy, a restlessness of curiosity, and a warmth 
of heart, that can be turned either to the very best 
or the very worst purposes, and form the elements 
either of the most exalted or the most degraded of 
rational beings. They in some respects resemble 
the power and versatility of fire, which sometimes 
bursts from the volcano, sometimes is applied by the 
incendiary to a house with sleeping inmates, or 
can be turned by powerful and complicated ma- 
chinery to the service of man, or made to rise in 
incense before the throne of God in Heaven." 

From harvest-home to solemn wake^ 

Around the dead to keene, 
The Irish character will take 

The impress of each scene ; 
To solemn or most lightsome soul 

His sympathy impart ; 
His grief profound knows no control, 

Or buoyancy of heart. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 97 

All the tenants and neighbors who had been 
enjoying the hospitalities and festivities at Gurteen 
Lodge had not yet taken their departure when a 
small group of boys and girls might have been seen 
and heard wending their way across the fields to a 
farmer's house, Thady Kelly by name. It was 
not yet midnight. They were going to attend 
the wake of an old beggar-woman, who had been 
well known in the place, by the name of Nellie 
Baskey. As the night was dark and wild, and 
moreover about the solemn hour of midnight, when 
spirits are supposed to haunt more than ever lonely 
places, and be more impatient of interruption, one 
of the boys w T as asked to sing a song by the way, to 
while away the time, but in truth to scare away the- 
ghosts or get up more courage, which was fast 
evaporating through the pores of the skin, as also 
the aroma of the spirits of Gurteen Lodge. 

The singer was just doing his very best, under the 
most trying circumstances, when a light flashed 
before him stood, moved, and suddenly vanished, — so 
did the last vibrations of the song, and every hand 
was instantly raised to make the sign of the cross, 
a pious act never forgotten by the Irish peasant, 
Eoman Catholic, in time of supposed danger, or evil, 
supernatural influences. The boys and girls hugged 

98 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

one another closely and reciprocally, and moved on 
very nervously, scarcely breathing. One of the boys 
at once stopped and, pulling off his coat, turned it 
inside out and again put it on in that way, for 
this, let me inform the reader not well posted in 
such lore, is considered as potent against the evil 
influences of Will-o'-the wisps or Jack-o'-the-lantern, 
which are supposed to lead people astray, but the 
turning of the coat frustrates all. 

They were just approaching an old bocheen 
enclosed by high hedges of old hawthorn bushes with 
thick dark ivy bodies ; near by were the gables of an 
old house covered with ivy. They had to cross the 
old lane over stone stiles, and one at a time. The 
great question in each one's mind was who would 
be first, or, rather, who would not be last. But no 
one spoke. Just then another object arrested their 
attention simultaneously. It was a white object, 
floating in mid-air, about four or five feet from the 
ground. It moved up and down at irregular inter- 
vals. There was no retreating, nor yet could they 
think of crossing either to right or left of the stile, 
as a deep dyke ran along under the hedge. Great 
drops of perspiration oozed from every pore and 
rolled down their faces. Not a soul moved, nor yet 
dared to speak. Up and down went the white object. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 99 

The image of the dead woman in her white sheet 
floated before their minds, if not their eyes, when** 
suddenly, something light as air whisked by them, 
then followed a shriek, a fearful crash and splash, a 
groan. The women did not faint but fled with the 
swiftness of deer, — and, though unpleasant to relate, 
it was every one for themselves — and terror-stricken 
they rushed into the barn at Tady Kelly's where 
the dead body of poor old Nellie Baskey lay, covered 
over with a white sheet. Candles were lighting: a 1 
around the walls, to which they were stuck with 
their own grease. 


The watchers, who were sleeping, started to their 
feet with consternation depicted upon every face, 
and, in a perfect state of bewilderment indescribable, 
seized hold of one another. A most ludicrous scene 
presented itself on all sides. 

The piper was dead drunk in the corner where 
he had been playing, and several others were in the 
same advanced state of spirits and smoke, for a large 
number were smoking away out of long new clav 
pipes, which are also handed around at Irish wakes, 
as well as snuff where the dead is decently treated. 
In the midst of the confusion one great coarse- 
looking woman of about forty, with a white rag tied 
round her head as a bandage, jumped to her feet 

100 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

and clapping her hands together wailed out : " 
mother, allannah, mother, asthore, won't you be quiet, 
what have I ever done to you ? " This she addressed 
to the dead. " mother, darlint, shure you nearly 
kilt me entirely." 

It is true this woman had taken a glass or two, 
which, together with the smoke and the sleep, rather 
obscured her waking thoughts and faculties. She 
was the daughter of old Nellie, and the wife of a 
soldier whose company was quartered in a neigh- 
boring town. She had come in time to close the poor 
old woman's eyes and lay her out. But it was the 
poor old woman who laid her out, with a vengeance, 
as the sequel will show. 

Here is what occurred, as told by an eye-witness : 
Poor old Nellie Baskey of late, during her life- 
time of course, walked with a stick but not straight 
as a stick, but crooked as a ram's horn, both in back 
and legs, so when she died, she did not limber up, 
as the Eoyal Artillery would say, but puckered 
up so badly, poor old woman, that her daughter and 
some other women present were much perplexed 
what to do to straighten her out on the table, as it 
was out of the question to lay her out as she was — 
she would not make a purty corpse to wake — she 
would look more like a toy rocking-horse, so th6 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 101 

daughter determined to try and straighten her, so 
she pulled at the heels of the corpse and another 
woman held the head, but in vain, the sinews 
would break before they would bend. She then 
tried another experiment, and succeeded, although 
with the manifest disapprobation of the corpse, and 
not without hurt to the daughter. She procured — 
that is the daughter — a great heavy flat stone to 
press upon the knees, but found that the bare w r eight 
was not sufficient, so, standing at the feet of the 
corpse, she raised the great flat stone between her 
hands and brought it down with a thud on the 
cocked-up knees of the dead which made the head 
of the corpse fly up and exactly meeting the head 
of her devoted daughter, left her hors de combat in 
a most undignified position. The corpse also took 
to the floor, and the women present took to their 
heels, and became absent in mind and body after the 
most surprising manner. When the daughter of the 
regiment recovered her senses — for she had lost 
control of her understanding w T hen the corpse 
saluted her head with a kiss — she staggered to her 
feet, to find herself alone and her poor old mother 
under the table. She instinctively put her hand to 
her forehead to find a large bump developing itself 
and just then indicating sensitiveness. 

102 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

She staggered to the door and called for assistance, 
and saw a number collected and yet not looking 
collected by any means. She assured them the 
corpse was not sturrin now. " Faith 'en she was 
sturrin a minute ago/' said one, crossing herself, 
for she sot up all at wansht av a suddint. It was 
the most surprising thing I ever sot eyes upon." 

As their numbers increased so did their courage, 
and curiosity getting the better of their fears they 
gradually approached the barn-door, but to behold an 
awful ghastly sight in the corpse lying on the floor, 
and just then one of them looked up at the daughter 
and exclaimed, "Ow, ow, Mrs. Corporal, your head 
is all av a lump, arrah what befelt yes at all, at all ? " 
Some one at once applied some whiskey and water 
and bandaged up her head ; a little drop of the same 
was just applied internally by the rest. The body 
was raised, and once more set upon the table. The 
large stone once more applied, but with more caution 
and scientific knowledge, and without any disquisi- 
tion upon cause and effect. After a good deal of 
springing up and pressing down the body was at last 
made to look passable, as well as passive, with the 
large flat stone balanced upon the knees and a- white 
sheet thrown over all. The last touch was given, 
and every thing declared ready. A table was set 

Scenes anct Incidents in Irish Life. 103 

in the corner of the barn, at which two or three men 
were preparing for the crowd of the night. They 
were cutting tobacco and filling a lot of clay pipes, 
and arranging some plates of snuff, etc. It was at 
this stage the writer walked in to pay his respects 
to the dead, or rather, like a great many of the 
present day who attend wakes and funerals, to see 
and to be seen, or for popularity sake. Not so 
refined it is true as that English sympathy noticed 
at funerals when horses and empty coaches are sent 
to represent their owner's head and heart and spirit, 
the earnest sympathetic Irish poor do the opposite, 
namely, go themselves and leave their asses at home. 
However, I was only a boy at the time, and boys 
are everywhere. I had somewhat interrupted the 
priest a few days before when administering Extreme 
Unction to the dying woman. But I did not 
interrupt anyone upon this occasion, but some one 
else did a little time after I entered. 

There was a good-natured sfirl trvingr to do her 
duty to the dead and she had fallen asleep and snoring 
with her head thrown back, and thereby attracted 
more attention than conduced to her comfort and 
placidity, like a great many people in the world, — 
but in her case she did not court it, A boy of the 
waking number went to help around the snuff, and, 

104 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life] 

without consulting the sleeper's fancies or tastes, 
applied some of the snuff to her nose at the time 
when an up-current had declared itself by sounds 
unmistakeable. The result was surprising, and it 
was a question whether the audience or the sleeper 
were the more affected ; but all was taken in good 
part. The piper had slept off his fit, and now felt for 
his pipes, and whispered to some one at hand to 
give him a little drop, when he would feel all right, 
for indeed it was asserted that he always played 
best when he had a drop in. He seemed to put 
more wind in the pipes, and they therefore roared 
louder and screamed more inharmoniously. I do 
not know whether there is any analogy between 
this and a colic in a human being, but Mickey 
Hobbins, the blind piper, cared not. 

Every night and its scenes has an end, so had 
this. The day was breaking, and the neighbors 
were returning to their respective homes ; but one 
group determined to return by the way they had 
come a few hours before, and that was the party 
who had come across the fields from Gurteen Lodge 
festivities and were so terrified. They wanted to 
see if the ghost left any traces of his presence or 
displeasure. As they recrossed the old bocheen, and 
got at the dyke side of the hedge there was a partial 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 105 

explanation of the cause of their alarm, and the 

white object which they had seen. It was the old 

bald-faced horse of Tady Kelly, lying in the dyke, 

unable to move, with one of its eyes presenting a 

sickening sight, and its white face of the night 

before now all plastered with mud from its struggles. 

The plain explanation of the ghost story and the 

attendant incidents were these : the poor old horse 

was at the sheltered side of the hedge with its tail as 

near to the shelter as the dyke would admit. It. 

was asleep, and the head was moving up and down, 

like a person asleep in a chair. The bald face was 

in marked contrast to the dark back-ground of the 

ivy hedge, and looked larger. The light object that 

was perceived to have whisked past them, followed 

by a screech and a splash and groans, must have been 

an owl, which swooped at the old horse, struck it, 

screeched, and startled the sleeping brute, so that it 

fell into the dyke with a splash and a groan, and 

what ever else was lacking to heighten and intensify 


their fears they supplied themselves. And thus 
ended their night's adventure, but not the repetition 
of the story, which, like the waves caused by a stone 
cast into a great lake, yea, the Atlantic Ocean itself, 
still roll on until they break upon its most distant 
shores, although it may be with lessened, and almost 


106 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

imperceptible, effect. But they still have power to 
awaken in the breast the pleasant memories of the 
past. The old homes, old friends, old firesides and 
scenes, long gone, and, alas ! forever. Ere my mind 
may lose its power to recall each scene and dwell 
upon it with delight, though melancholy intermingle, 
let me breathe my last breath, heave my last sigh, 
bless the land of my birth, and the sleeping ashes of 
our pious, honest-hearted, simple-minded forefathers 
who, though dead, yet live and speak. No, England 
thou shalt never root out the noble Celtic seed from 
Erin's sacred soil by emigration, to transplant it 
with a race inferior, whose blood clots in its veins, 
through sluggish palpitation. The dash and glory 
which has attached itself to the name of England, 
has derived its start and stability from Irish blood 
and bravery. 

Say who are these who death defy, 
To fear each man's a stranger — 

Dost thou not know the Irish cry 
Of Ireland's Connaught Kanger ? 

Faugh-a-ballach ! 

England love such noble sons : 
For thee they've braved all danger, 

Should their's to thee prove foeman's guns, 
Beware the Connaught Kanger, 


Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

Driven afar to foreign soil, 

These noble sons and daughters, 

Their hatred will be blazing oil 
Poured on thy troubled waters, 


108 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

E must now return to Gurteen Locbe : it is 


one o'clock in the morning, and the com- 
pany has nearly all departed, undoubtedly full of 
spirits. The last jaunting car and horseman have 
gone through the avenue gate, the clear ring of the 
horses' hoofs has died away in the distance, and, save 
the desultory bark of the watch-dogs, things in and 
around the place have resumed their wonted quiet- 
ness. A pleasant little group are assembled in the 
quaint old drawing-room, the two ladies of the house 
and Lieutenant Claymore. Mrs. D'Arcy and the 
young Hussar were giving their instructions about 
the hunt in the morning. — the meet was at the 
cross-roads in the vicinity of Gurteen Lodge. 

The young people in the drawing-room were 
laughing over the events of the evening, the un- 
affected silvery laugh of those genuine Irish girls, 
whose eyes sparkled with modest mirthfulness, and 
their faces beamed with that untutored and unstudied 
brightness and artless geniality, which delighted 
and entranced the heart and soul, but is fast disap- 
pearing in this nineteenth century. Young D'Arcy 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 109 

soon entered, when the whole complimented him 
upon his good dancing and good wind, with the 
Widow Mulcahy, who defeated him, of course, amidst 
the cheers of the company. 

However he reminded Mr. Claymore that he 
would have an opportunity of showing what he 
could do in crossing the country in the morning 
with the ladies, after the hounds, to win Beynard's 

A little more desultory chit-chat, and all retired 
to their respective rooms to sleep and dream, or, in 
the stillness of the night, hold secret converse with 
the heart. And what strange thoughts flit athwart 
the mind at such time, without shape or order. 

As Claymore stood with his back to the blazing 
turf fire, he quietly looked around the room, and 
thought to himself, " what a quaint old house ; 
what a gay laughing girl Lucy is. I must get her to 
sing that song of ' the daisy ' again," and he repeated 
quietly to himself : — 

The daisy to me hath a loving eye, 

sad is my heart, and my love's far away. 

Then some of the scenes of the evening came up 
before his mind's-eye and provoked a smile. He had 
witnessed a genuine Irish scene that night for the 
first time in his life — an Englishman by birth. He 

110 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

had just returned from India where he had been 
for a short time, but the climate disagreed with him, 
and he was home on sick leave. 

A little more, and his room was in darkness, except 
the flickering light from the dying embers in the 
grate, which caused moving shadows to flit about 
the room, and strange . appearances to suddenly 
present themselves and as suddenly fade away. 
The young Lieutenant was not superstitious, yet he 
got possessed with the feeling that there was some- 
ting wierd or supernatural in the place. He could 
not sleep, but with half-closed eyes he watched the 
shadows become fainter and fainter. He thought 
once he perceived a vibration in the air, and then 
he thought it was only a fancy, and endeavored to 
sleep ; again he perceived as if something fanned the 
air, and the curtains of his bed moved. His curiosity? 
if nothing more, was excited — sleep he could not — 
he glided out of bed, over to the fire-place took the 
tongs, probed for a coal, got his candle and lighted 
and it, proceeded to explore the room — looked under 
his bed but nothing was there. He perceived a half- 
closed closet door, which he closed, and again retired 
to his bed, persuading himself — though not to his 
satisfaction, be it confessed — that it was only his 
fancy, being in a strange house, or the effects of the 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. Ill 

Irish whiskey-punch, which was new to him, and 
therefore affected his imagination. 

Such was the current of his thoughts when sudden- 
ly a most unearthly acreech rang through the room, 
which made his hair stand on end and caused him to 
start up in his bed ; the same weird cry, half-human* 
filled the room ; he again essayed to light his candle 
as before, and had just succeeded when something 
extinguished it, nor could he tell what ; nothing 
daunted he attempted to light it again and succeeded, 
and, holding the tongs in one hand and the candle 
in the other, looked cautiously around the room 
when what should he see but a great owl, sitting 
above his bed, blinking at him. He at once con- 
cluded it was a pet, so he once more got into bed 
and slept soundly, with his weird watcher over head. 

His account next morning of the affair was the 
cause of much mirth ; the owl was captured. It had 
entered his room through a small window which 
looked out amongst the old ivy trees from the closet 
off his room, the door of which he had closed w T hen 
first aroused, thereby preventing the exit of his 
nocturnal visitor. 

Next morning all was astir at an early hour. 
Breakfast over, the horses were led around to the 
hall door ; the ladies were soon assisted into their 

112 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

saddles. Mr. D'Arcy was mounted upon a strong, 
trusty old hunter, Mr. Claymore and young D'Arcy 
on a pair of young, fiery animals, when, suddenly, 
the horn of the huntsman filled the air with music 
and the hearts of all with excitement. 

The ladies looked gay upon their curvetting but 
well-trained animals, which they sat most grace- 
fully, and as they cantered along to the place of 
rendezvous their merry laugh rang out on the 
morning air. The red-coated squires came cantering 
along and received a genial nod of good-morning 
from the Gurteen ladies. Not a poor person, man or 
woman, passed without a kind word from the 
ladies, and the country girls got a pleasant com- 
pliment from Mr. D'Arcy and his son ; the latter 
being often saluted with : " welcome home, your 
honor," or a rousing cheer. All looked happy and 
were happy. The air was vocal with the song of 
birds ; the hearty laugh, the musical tally-ho, and 
huntsman's horn were all the offspring of nature's 
smiles — her blessings profusely bestowed upon a 
noble people composed of a genial, generous gentry, 
a contented, pious peasantry, all feeling that the 
peace, prosperity and pleasures of both were com- 
bined and intertwined. In short, their feelings 
of near brotherhood were mutual. From the 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 1 13 

hunting-field to the harvest-home gathering, their 
joys and enjoyment were mutual and inseparable. 
A people of buoyant and excitable natures, with a 
total absence of sullen moroseness. 

As the cry of the hounds is heard and the ringing 
cheers of the people re-echo o'er hill and dale, 
here and there we see the ploughman hastily 
unyoke his horses, turn one into the hedge to graze, 
whilst he mounts the other, and dashes away 
bareback, all aglow with excitement, nor need he 
fear his master will bring him to account for 
giving way to such a pardonable and universal 
impulse. Life, it was universally acknowledged, 
did not mean slavery and unceasing drudgery nor the 
repressing and crushing out of buoyancy and 
innocent enjoyment, 


High over the fences and over each drain 
I see the bold riders and hear the refrain — 

Tally-ho ! 

But the boldest of riders there to be seen 
Are the two Irish girls, the pride of Gurteen — 

Tally-ho ! 

See, here are the ladies ; now boys clear the way ! 
The fence is well taken ; the people hurra — 

Tally-ho ! 

114 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 

Next follows a dandy, that's just from the town, 
He asks if the people will take the fence down — 

Tally-ho ! 

The response he receives is not a hurra ! 

But a shower of mud, and the people cry, bah ! 

Tally-ho ! 

The run is just ended, whip, whip and a rush : 
The air it resounds with " Miss Mary ? s the brush," — 

Tally-ho ! 

As down from her bridle the brush is seen swing 
Loud cheers from the people exultingly ring — 

Tally-ho ! 

Young Claymore has ridden beside her all day, 
His heart with the brush has been won by the way — 

Tally-ho ! 

Keturning home from the hunt, Mr. Claymore 
rode beside Mary D'Arcy, Miss Lucy rode along 
with her brother and a neighboring young gentleman, 
discussing and laughing over the different incidents 
or accidents of the day. Passing a wayside cabin 
a couple of barefooted children stood gazing at the 
company as they rode by. Mary D'Arcy paused 
and, addressing the older one, said : " Alley, how is 
your mother ? " " She's been mighty sick, Miss, all 
day," replied the child, politely courtseying. 

u Might I trouble you, Mr. Claymore, to assist me 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 115 

to alight," said Mary D'Arcy, " as this is one of 
my patients, you know." The pleasant duty was only 
too readily performed, and the gallant young 
Lieutenant patiently awaited her return. As they 
rode homewards Mary communicated to Claymore 
how poorly the sick woman was, and her great 
need of one thing or another, and thus they chatted 
t until they arrived at the hall. 

"No sooner had Mary D'Arcy changed her riding 
costume than she proceeded to the kitchen to 
prepare something for the sick woman she had just 
been visiting, a little hare soup and some chicken, 
as also a little jelly, some tea and sugar, etc., with 
which she despatched a servant ; then, with a 
feeling of satisfaction, as one who feels conscious 
of having performed or discharged a duty of love, 
she returned to her room to dress for dinner. 

Soon one after another began to assemble in the 
drawing-room — amongst the number a few r of the 
neighboring gentry, both ladies and gentlemen, as 
also the Rector and wife and the Roman Catholic 
parish priest. 

Eight pleasant ran the chat about the day's 
adventures. " By the way, Father Luke," said Lucy 
D'Arcy, " I see you have been playing Englishman 
to-day," and at the same time she gave a sly look 

116 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

of mischief at Claymore — " and for which your 
country and parishioners will demand an explana- 

The good-natured and good-humored priest 
looked at her as he remarked, with a comical 
expression : "By Saint Anthony when the angels 
turn one's accuser we may as well prepare our kit 
for New Zealand, and plade guilty before the 
Court. Now may I ask to hear the charge, Miss 
Lucy ? " 

" I saw you at the death and at the funeral by 
proxy, to the great disgrace of your nation, and 
I saw you at the hunt by proxy, to which your 
parish and bishop will have something to say." 

At this there was a roar of laughter, as the priest's 
horse was seen tearing away after the hounds, 
and clearing the fences in good style, with a 
barefooted, bareheaded urchin on its back, and 
holding on like grim death to the saddle, his feet 
stuck through the stirrup leather. As this scarecrow 
flew through the .country the way in which the 
highest fences were cleared and the speed of Toby 
— which was the name of the priest's horse — was 
surprising, because of the light weight the animal 
was carrying. This scene caused the most 
uproarious mirth, and the wildest shouts and hurras, 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 117 

imaginable, and, what added still more to the 
excitement was, some bawled out to others : " Blood- 
an-ouns, the priesht's horse is batin thim all." 
And the news was soon ahead of the hunt that 
Father Luke was at the tail of the hounds, and that 
he wasnt like himsel' at all, at all, and " by gor, 
not a one av them was able to blow wind in his 
tail, and that he as good as had the brush." And 
as the huntsmen flew by and left the crowds behind, 
the news was sent backwards that the priesht had 
the tail. 

How the whole thing came about was this : 
Father Luke was visiting a sick parishioner, and 
gave his horse to one of the gossoons to hold, who, 
as soon as the priest had disappeared inside the 
house, brought the animal to a stone wall and 
mounted, as, like most Irish boys, he was quite at 
home on a horse bareback. He was quietly 
walking up and down the road, but now and again 
trying a little trot, and rising up and down in 
the saddle, somewhat out of time, and with varied and 
unsatisfactory cadences of voice and body. All of 
a sudden, however, the horse stopped, but the 
youngster did not, but was shot forward to drop 
backward on the pommel of the saddle, rather 
awkwardly, and then, with a plunge, cleared the 

118 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

road fence, the hounds having come in sight and 
then a horseman — Toby having been a hunter 
belonging to a gentleman in the neighborhood, who 
sold him to the priest. 

This occasioned much fun for all the neigbor- 
hood, and the priest told it to many a wondering 
crowd before and after mass, and young Shamus 
Killeen w r as immortalised, and provided for from 
that day out, as he was hired at Gurteen to work 
about the stables and wait upon who ever wanted 

As dinner was now announced Father Luke offered 
his arm to Miss Lucy, Claymore to Mary, and all 
proceeded to the dining-room in due order, and good 
humor and no worse appetites. Who would not 
have wished to have been one of the party ? 

Many a pleasant story went round of hunt and 
huntsman, fair and fight, until, dinner being over, the 
ladies retired to the drawing-room and the gentle- 
men prepared to enjoy their wine and whiskey- 
punch. As the decanter circulated, the gentlemen, 
through Mr. D'Arcy, requested Father Luke to give 
them a thrilling incident from among the many 
of the troubled times, as they were called, and 
with much of which he was well acquainted and 
had a happy knack of describing. 

^Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 119 

The priest, without any pretended modesty or 
hesitation, conscious only of an honest desire to 
-please and acquiesce in the universal wish, first 
added a little whiskey to what was in his tumbler, 
filled his wine-glass, and, rising said, " Allow me, 
gentlemen, to propose the health of the ladies of 
Gurteen, may they live long, and, like the lovely 
flowers of our meadows and blossoms of spring, shed 
their sweetness upon all around and fill every heart 
with joy and pleasure that comes within reach of 
their influence, as they do to-day, the beloved of all ; 
and I would also add, may the Lord long spare our 
host to his friends, tenants and the country, and 
all who are like him. It is an old saying, like 
father, like son. Amin" As he said this he looked 
at young D'Arcy. 

This little speech, unstudied and heartfelt, was 
warmly applauded by all, and was modestly and 
affectingly acknowledged by the host, whereupon 
the priest related the following : 

" I was stationed not far from Banagher some 
years ago — the times were in a very disturbed state, 
the Whiteboys, Bibbon Men and Peep-o-day Boys 
were carrying on, and small blame to them ! for 
the distress and hard tratement they would 
resaive the Lord forgive the oppressors and wrong- 
doers who ever they may be. Amin. 

120 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life* 

" Well, there was an ould family of the O'lSTaills who 
favored the boys, and they spint and ran through 
their property, to help the cause ; they were awful- 
good to the poor and distressht, and they were much 
harassed and bothered intirely by the peelers and 
government until they had to lave the country. One 
of the young fellows remained, and got into some 
scrape, and he was wanted one day by the peelers \ 
they searched high and low for him, but the boys 
were all thru-blues to him, so one day an ould 
man by the name of KToonan kicked the bucket? 
and was dacently waked. He was an ould friend 
to the cause too, dead and alive. Well, the boys 
wanted to get young O'Naill out of his hiding-place, 
and to the banks of the Shannon, to make for 
Limerick, so as to get him aboord a craft that was 
ready to sail for the coast of Spain, so, knowing 
the intintions of ould Noonan to be the same, dead 
or alive, the boys dressed him up in his Sunday 
shoot, brogues and all ; and his Sunday baver 
hat, and then, feeling sartin that what would not 
offind the dead when alive, would not, when dead 
intirely, — and more betoken when there was some 
lively work to be done, so one of the boys poured 
some potheen down the throat of the corpse, so as to 
give him a smell as if he was alive, and decave the 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 121 

peelers if they should come near the car. Well, 
Bill Noonan, the dead man, had a twin brother Jim, 
an' they wor as loike as two eggs, and he came 
to the funeral, so he was hid away, and the dead 
man was made, as it wor, take his place at his own 
funeral, and young O'Neill was put into the coffin. 
Howsomever it was he looked more like the corpse 
than the corpse did himself. Well the dead man 
was lifted on to the lace of the car, his legs hanging 
down, and two of thim boulsthered him up. It 
went hard agin the feelins, but they knew the dead 
man would have said < all right, boys, you can rickon 
on me if I am alive,' — that was a sayin av his when 
he was in his right sperits— and, what was quare after 
all, whenever a friend thrated him to a drop he took 
it more for the sake of others than himself, so 
that, dead or alive, he was loike himself in that 

" Well they had a long way to go, for the ould 

churchyard was nigh the Shannon, so the boys took 

the coffin on to their shoulders, and the wimmin 

began to keen. It would melt the heart in your 

body to hear it. O'Neill must have felt it quare to be 

a dead man, and hearing his friends keenin and a 

wailin for him. Well, as the funeral went on, and 

was passing the police station, the two men in 

122 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

charge came out and stood on the road, and eyed 
every mother's son of them, and when they saw 
the dead man, they looked at each other and smiled? 
as much as to say, ' JimNoonan, your in your glory. 
Well the wimmin keened harder than ever, for they 
were all av a trimble, for fear it would lake out. 
Well, on they all went, and, as they wor a coming 
near the place a boy came tarin, and tould the 
boys, there was a large body of police in the church 
yard ; as if prepared for a row or something, or 
perhaps some mangy vagabone had informed, as 
there w r as a big reward for O'Neill, if cotched. Wel^ 
the boys wanted to distract the peelers' attentions 
from the river, as that was their only chance, so they 
consulted hastily, and a hint was given to others to 
keep the women quiet; and the boys laid the 
coffin down and commenced a sham fight, and one of 
them ran to the church-yard and gave the alarm 
that there was a bloody fight going on, and that 
one man was kilt and dead. The shouting and 
fighting went on as loike as if it was a fair-day spree. 
The real corpse was laid on the side of the road ; 
and the coffin was lifted on to the car. The peelers 
soon came at the double, but the boys hammered 
away, while the wimmin drove on with the coffin, 
and as they came to an ould lane they let O'Neill 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 123 

out, who knew where his friends were waitin for 
him, with a boat. The women then pushed on to 
the churchyard, and, as there were others waiting, 
the coffin was dropped into the grave, and some 
were shovelling in the clay, when the peelers, or two 
of them, come a tearin like mad and tould them to 

' It is late/ said the boys, ' and we do not want 
to lave the dead uncovered/ 1 Hould an, my brave 
fellows/ said the peelers, 1 we want to see if you 
havint forgot to put him in the coffin at all/ By 
this time the rest of the peelers had arrived, with 
the dead man on one of the cars, and a number of 
the boys handcuffed together. So, one of the 
peelers took hould of the shovel and jumped into 
the grave, and began firing up the clay like mad, 
and they were intirely bothered to stir the coffin or 
take off the lid of it, as some large stones were in 
it, and the lid nailed down. ' What does this mane \ 1 
says the officer in command. 'Begor, it manes 
there's a mishtake's, that 's all/ says one of the boys, 
— he was a school master, and was well able to spake 
up. * Why was not the dead man put in the coffin ? ' 
enquired the officer. 1 Begor, if you wor in his place, 
mebby its soon enough you'd think you'd be on 
your back in it, and loike to see all you could av 

124 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

the world afore you'd lave it. If you gev us time, 
the dead would be decently buried, loike a christian 

" ' Then why were you covering up the coffin 
without the dead body in it ? ' Further enquired 
the officer. ' Why sure there's the mishtake,' says 
Kelly, the school-mashter, not at all non-plushed, 
becase the boys here thought he was in the coffin, 
and that's not their fault. Well, there was no help 
for it but to put poor ould Noonan in his own coffin 
and bury him, as it was only an Irish row and 
trick, not quite apparent nor indictable.' 

" The officer was taken aside by the sargint, and 
two men dispatched directly to the river, and then 
a third, a boat which was lying there was shoved 
out into the river, and away they shot with the 
current, like dogs on the scent, and the rest of the 
peelers watched the boys. 

" O'Neill and the boys were well on the way, and, 
having hoisted a small sail, shot down the river 
like a water- witch. O'Neill held the tiller and the 
sheet, and the two boys pulled like Throjans. 
Portumna was seen in the distance, and was soon 
left behind. Now was heard the report of a gun, 
and then another and another. O'Neill looked 
behind and seemed anxious, ' I hope the boys will 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 125 

meet us/ he whispered. Another report was heard, 
yet not a word was exchanged by those in the 
escaping boat. ' Pull away, rny hearties/ said O'Neill 
in a whisper. 

" The peelers had pulled near the shore on the 
Portumna side, and, as they expected, two policemen 
stood on the shore. They had seen the other boat 
sweep down under sail and oars ; this was enough. 
The two fresh men entered the boat, the sergeant 
held the tiller. As at first, no time was lost, when 
away shot the boat in pursuit. The sun was just 
gone down behind the distant hill, still on flew the 
pursued and pursuer, like a hare escaping from the 
hounds. It was a race for life. 

" O'Neill prayed and longed for darkness — the 
pursuers for prolonged light, for, if successful, 
promotion and profit were certain. 

" The escaping party now hugged the shore on the 
Tipperary side, and soon a small boat appeared in 
sight as if heading for the Galway side. Just then 
the shrill whistle of the gray plover was heard on 
the water, and immediately a reply was given 
from the escaping boat. The other was soon along- 
side, an exchange of men rapidly carried out, O'Neill 
received a brace of double-barrelled pistols and a 
flask of potheen, a warm grasp of the hand from 

126 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

his departing friends. A quivering lip refused to 
speak what the silent tear betrayed. 

" O'Neill said, ' hang on our track/ as the others 
fell behind. His boat, obeying her helm, fell off 
before the wind, the sail flapped and filled, and the 
boat skimmed over the water like a living thing, 
conscious of the great issues at stake. 

" The moon was now sailing through the heavens, 
but dark clouds heavily rolled athwart her face, 
each one of which was anxiously watched by 
O'Neill. Just then, boom, went another discharge 
of a gun, and another in quick succession, but our 
heroes bent themselves to their oars. A strong gust 
of wind now filled the sail which made it almost 
superfluous for the oars. ' Rist, my boys,' said 
O'Neill, c you may want all your strength before 
morning. God help the right,' and the two rowers 
responded, 'imm,' 

u They flew past a place called Balleyglass, and 
the old ivy head of its castle was seen from the 
shore, and soon was far behind and lost in the dark 
shadows of the woods. 

" The pursuing boat had by this time succeeded 
in hoisting a sail after a fashion — out of the great- 
coat of one of the peelers, with a musket for a mast . 
This was a great help. They discharged another 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 127. 

shot, in hope of drawing some peelers off shore, 
to intercept the fugitives, or locate them. Just 
as they fired, a boat crossed their bow, at some 
little distance, which they hailed and ordered 
to haul to, and hastily asked who they were, 
and where they were going ? ' To see what is the 
matter with you,' said one of the occupants of 
the other boat, and if you were in any distress, or 
perhaps your powdher was wet, and no use to you, 
so that you wor firing it all away / and he laid 
provoking emphasis on the word use. 

u 1 Hello, Noonan, is that you ? 1 said the sergeant* 
who recognized his voice, ' what are you doing here 
so soon after your father's funeral ? ' ' Because I 
couldnt come, nor get back any sooner,' said Xoonan. 
' What has you so far from home, sergeant, agra ? ' 
said he in return, with provoking coolness. 

" Ju3t then another boat hove in sight, and a gruff 
voice called out, ■ who goes there V 'A friend ' 
replied sergeant Callaghan, 1 who are you ? 9 ' Her 
Majesty's constabulary/ and a dark lantern was 
produced. Noonan and his companion were ordered 
not to move at the risk of being shot. A hurried 
consultation was held aside between the constabu- 
lary. Sergeant Callaghan was now convinced that 
the game was afoot, and that they were on the scent. 

1 28 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

The boat just from the shore had a small sail at the 
bottom, which was at once transferred to the pursuing 
boat. Noonan and his companion was taken into 
custody by the others, and brought ashore. The 
other boat now dashed off with a fresh impetus, 
under pressure of the borrowed sail. 

" O'Neill and his companions in silence sat like 
statues, but, with anxious eyes and heart, scanned 
the shore ; and, as the moon looked out at intervals 
and threw her rays on the waters, they looked 
behind for a pursuing foe, which they felt were on 
their track. 

" The night wore on, and at length they saw 
Limerick in the distance, or rather its dim lamps- 
O'Neill steered for the western shore, as one who 
was familiar with the place. He soon ran the boat 
like an arrow amongst some low bushes. He now 
gave a shrill call, as a green plover or pewit, 
then paused, before repeating the call. His heart 
was throbbing, — now was a critical moment. His 
pursuers behind him soon would give the alarm. He 
repeated the call, and then listened. His comrades 
shoved off their boat and tacked, so as to mislead 
any boat pursuing. They made for the eastern 
shore, then tacked, and headed up stream. 

" O'Neill, in great suspense and anxiety, crouched 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 129 

and crept forward for an old tower near to a few 
large trees. . He paused and repeated his call, when 
a reply greeted his ears, and made his heart bound 
with joy. A friend was at hand, the reply came from 
the direction of the old tower, then from the bank 
of the river up-stream, and approached him gradually. 
He remained perfectly still, gave another call with 
a certain prolonged note, when a man's voice called 
out 1 tee.' O'Neill responde< I ' a-a-a' ; 4 r' responded 
the stranger. ' a-all's right, ' replied O'Neill, when 
the two men clasped hands, and disappeared in 
the direction of the trees. 

" fc You must drive the mail to Killkee,' said the 
stranger, ' make for the point beyond the puffing 
holes, you will find a friend there, the word is 
black' As he said this he led O'Neill to a point 
where a horse and an old gig stood, into which both 
got and rattled away along an old bye-road until 
they came to the main road, leading from Limerick 
to Killkee. They paused, and soon a coach and 
pair came in sight, — a gentleman and a couple of 
ladies, a little boy and girl were the passengers. At 
a signal from O'Neiirs friend the coach stopped, 
the driver of which vacated his seat, which O'Neill 
at once occupied. He was well muffled up, as the 
morning was cold, and the rain was coming down 

130 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

in a drizzle. The driver of the mail coach got into 
the gig which O'Neill had vacated, and the two 
followed on leisurely after the coach, in earnest 

"No sooner had the coach entered the village than 
O'Neill took his whip, and dropping it over the back 
of the nigh horse, or left hand one, he looked the 
opposite way, when a boy stood in the road, and 
said ' cold and dark, driver.' The horses slackened 
their pace, and this way-side passenger mounted 
into the box, and on went the stage to some strag- 
gling cottages, to the left of the village, where 
O'Neill alighted, and the other took the reins. 
O'Neill now hastened along the coast, which at this 
point is rocky, some great flat table rocks jut out 
into the restless sea. Through these rocks the sea 
has worn a hole from beneath, and, as the waters 
rush in, are thrown or forced with great violence 
up through this hole and to a great height. 

* O'Neill waited for some time and then gave the 
call of the pewit, and sat down, looking into the 
sea j a boat was seen to shove off from the beach, 
where stand the bathing boxes, and steer in the 
direction of where he was standing. It passed him 
by, and rounded the point. He heard a seagull's 
cry come from the boat ; yet no such bird was in 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 131 

sight. This was enough. O'Neill followed the 
boat, yet slowly, until he lost sight of the village. 
He made his way down on a projecting rock, 
and as the long canvass boat of the fisherman 
was passing him, he called out, ' the-sky looks — 6' 
said the boatman; ' I • — said O'Neill, ' a- aha ' said 
the other as if laughing, ' c ' continued O'Neill, * &ay 
of the door ' said the other, as he backed his boat to 
O'Neill's feet, and pulled on straight, and then out 
to sea ; and soon they were lost to sight. 

" The forenoon wore away before a sail appeared. 
At last a schooner hove in sight ; the boat at once 
ran across her course, and asked if there was any 
message on board for Killkee, or information 
wanted ? ' Yes ' said one, who appeared to be in 
command, ' 1 want a hand, who wants help, and 6e- 
e-e ? £ don't swear, captain W-love' ; 'a-aha,' laughed 
the captain ; ' c see' shouted the boatman, ' the sky ; 
1 &-kum on boord,' said the captain. So O'Neill got 
aboord and escaped. The peelers fell in with the 
others, questioned them, brought them to Limerick> 
searched all the out-going vessels, and watched, but 
could not find their man, but got well laughed 
at for their pains, and from that day to this to say 
to the peelers around there, ' where is O'Neill and 
who buried Noonan ? ' the peelers get awful mad.' 5 

132 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

They all applauded the priest and felt glad to 
find O'Neill did escape. 

He wrote back to a friend, says the priest, and 
I saw the letter, and it was the most affecting 
thing I ever read. " As I stood on the deck of 
the schooner, — said he, — which bore me away 
from all I love dearest upon earth, and thought, 
what have I done, that I should be hunted like 
a wild beast, with a price set on my head; I 
have neither murdered nor robbed, only loved 
my native land, and fellow countrymen and women 
better than the stranger, the conqueror and op- 

As I saw the last of that land where my heart 
is, and that the last of her hills sank behind the 
horizon, I threw myself on the deck and wept, 
and then I prayed for the noble aud true friends 
who risked their liberties, if not their lives, to 
deliver me out of the hands of the cruel enemy 
of my native country, I may never see again, 
Tell the boys I leave them all an exile's blessing. 

I sail for America in a few days, give Father 
Luke rny love, and tell him I ask his prayers." 

Here the tears rolled down the priest's face, and 
for a few moments not a word was uttered; but 
the gentlemen emptied their glasses, only to fill 
them again. 

JScenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

O ! the punch of Gurteen 
Was some good old potheen, 

Distilled by one Barney Lynch. 
As you sat by the fire, 
And kept chat with the Squire, 

Happy you felt every inch. 

Some declared it was true, 
It was real mountain dew, 

Gathered on old Slievnamon, 
Or the old Devil's bit, 
As it brightened your wit, 

Where it came from was all one. 

Yes it scattered all cares 
Like the fleet-footed hares, 

Fleeing away from the hounds, 
And your heart it kept time, 
With the story or rhyme, 

Or rapt with musical sounds. 

! long gone are those times 
Like the marriage bell chimes, 

Or flowTS and song birds of June. 
Thus has times withering breath 
Hushed in silence of death 

Voices we loved in the tomb. 


Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 


Sexton, Sexton, the passing bell toll, 
Asking the prayers for departing soul ; 
Solemn it sounds and soft on the air, 
Eising to heav'n with incense of prayer. 

HE old clock in the hall pointed out a quarter 
to the midnight hour when Father Luke rose 
to depart, but his residence was only a short dis- 
tance off, so having taken leave of all, and but- 
toned up his overcoat, and stick in hand, he was 
starting to walk, when Mr. Claymore proposed to 
walk a short distance with the good priest, for the 
sake of the walk, before retiring to bed. In truth 
he felt much drawn towards Father Luke, and 
thought he would enjoy a chat with him across the 
fields, a id by the old abbey at that hour. 

Having lighted his cigar, and likewise took a 
stick in his hand, the priest and young officer 
started. As they emerged from the hall door the 
priest said, " We will follow this walk to the right, 
through the rookery and by the old abbey walls, 
as a short cut." 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 135 

The sky was overcast, yet sufficient light to follow 
the pathway with ease or see any large object several 
yards ahead. ♦ 

" What a romantic old place this is," said Clay- 
more, commencing the conversation. 

" Yes," replied the priest, " it is a grand old resi- 
dence and estate, and a grand old family inherits 
it, and for all I can trace or learn they have dwelt in 
it for the last two hundred years, and may they 
always continue, I pray God, Amen." 

They have neither been adventurers, usurpers nor 
oppressors, nor have they acquired foreign airs and 
notions, but like those fine old trees there, they 
draw there living from the soil, where having 
taken deep root, they dwell, as also in the hearts 
of the people, and as those trees are to the birds 
a shelter and refuge from the storm and cold, so are 
the D'Arcy family to the poor. 

If such men as Mr. D'Arcy were at the head of 
affairs, Ireland would have peace and plenty, and 
every man would have his rights, just liberty and 

He went to Dublin, continued the priest, a few 
years ago, and pleaded for poor O'Neill, and made 
strong representations, that there was gross injustice 
and ignorance of his case. But he was as good as 

136 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

towld to go home, and that if he didn't have a care, 
his commission as magistrate would be of short 
consait to him. Thai? the counthry would not have 
pace until the hangman and convict-ship, gave a 
safe and a short passage to Paradise or Botany Bay 
to all of the same stamp. " That's thrue my Lord, 
said Mr. D'Arcy, a dead dog neither bites nor barks, 
neither does he watch nor defend his master's house 
and goods when he's wanted," " Now, Mr. Claymore, 
wasn't that sharp and brave of the squire ?" They 
were on the point of crossing a style into an old 
lane, when the priest started and caught hold of 
Claymore's arm and whispered, " did you hear any- 

" Yes, said Claymore, like the rumbling of a carri- 
age, I think it is coming this way." 

" God forbid," said the priest, as he blest himself, 
making the sign of the cross, and saying in the 
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy 
Ghost, Amen. 

" It's coming nearer," said Claymore in a whisper. 
" It is some carriage." 

" The divila one, ! Holy Mary, God forgive me. 
No mortal carriage thravels this bocheen," said the 

Dark hedges of hawthorn rose up all around 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 137 

them. The dark ivied walls of the old abbey, the 
grim old sentry of bygone days, stood in its silent 
spectral glory, still guarding the dead sleeping in 
its bosom, and under the shadow of its sacred 
walls. Its outlines could be traced at intervals. 

A feeling of awe crept over both those men, the 
man of peace and war. 

An unseen foe inspires more fear and anxiety 
than the seen. 

Nearer and nearer came the sound. It must be 
a carriage thought Claymore, as he peered through 
the darkness and up the old lane. 

Yes, here it is, it's upon them, as it were they 
perceive its shadows. 

They feel as if a film was over their eyes. They 
see nothing ; though they instinctively step back to 
avoid its wheels. 

It is past, it is gone. 

They hear its now awful rumbling, as it dies 
away in the distance, and melts into the solemn 
silence of midnight. 

Father Luke took Claymore by the arm and 
hurried from the spot, without uttering a word. 
The perspiration stood in great drops upon his brow. 
Claymore felt a clammy perspiration oozing from 


138 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

every pore, yet not experiencing fear, as will 

In a moment .hey arrived at the priest's door ? 
an old housek -br opened it. As she beheld the 
terror-stricken : 3 of the priest she started back, and 
ejaculated : u loly Mary, what's amiss, your 
reverence ? " 

The priest thr< w himself into a chair, asked for a 
drop of water, • ch the old woman brought in a 

Claymore stood by, motionless, not knowing what 
to say or do, whe 1, in a second, the priest groaned 
and cried like a did. After a little he said, " Mr. 
Claymore, da you'll not say anything about 
it to any of the f oiily. dear, dear, it's a sure 
sign, a sure sign ; some one doomed ! dear ! ,? 

" What do y >u mean, Father Luke ? " asked 

"Why " said the priest, "its the dead warning." 

The old worn m looked terrified, and crossed 
herself and asked. " did you see the dead warning ? " 

" No," said ^ j/riest, " we did not see it, but it 
nearly ran ovei 3. It rowled by us so near that we 
almost felt it." 

" Well, Mr C] tymore, " continued Father Luke, 
" whenever that 3 heard some of the family have 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 139 

always died at the Hall. Don't spake a word about 
it to man or mortal. Don't open your lips to any 
of the ladies, it might kill them intirely. You won't 
go back by yourself, will you, Mr. Claymore ? " 

" 0, certainly," he replied, " I am not afraid — the 
distance is so short." 

" Bigor, I wouldn't go back for all the goold of 
the Ingees," said the old woman. 

Mr. Claymore secretly felt he would walk around 
the road, which was not very much further. So he 
said " good night " and departed. He could not 
help wondering over the strange occurrence ; do his 
best he could not get rid of the strange feeling pro- 
duced upon his mind. 

What was the strange sound which he heard and 
which caused so strange a sensation ? Was it animal 
magnetism conveyed from Father Luke's touch, who 
was evidently strongly possessed with the belief in 
the supernatural, and this apparition in particular. 
And then he suggested to himself, that Father Luke 
was more affected by internal than external spirits. 
This explanation looked quite plausible, so he 
laughed to himself and soon arrived at the Hall. 
But resolved to say nothing about the matter, at 
least for a few days, and more especially as he 
recollected that Mr. D'Arcy was going to Galway 

140 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

city the next day, on some official duty, and would 
not be home for two or three days. He felt that 
more than the ignorant or uneducated peasantry 
were superstitious, — he confessed he was not alto- 
gether free from it himself, he therefore concluded 
to be silent about the night's adventure. 

As he entered he found all had retired to their 
rooms except young D'Arcy, who sat smoking a 
cigar as he looked *over an army list. He looked 
up as Claymore entered, and, removing his cigar 
from his lips, he remarked, 6i I declare Claymore 
you look as if you were not well or had seen a 

" I just feel a little tired," said Claymore, " I will 
sleep all the better, if another of your pet owls does 
not disturb me with his lullaby. v 

In a fjw moments each had gone to his own room, 
and all except Claymore were sleeping soundly. 
He lay awake for some time, thinking now of one 
thing, now of another, of the strange noise he 
fancied he heard in the old lane and the priest 
hearing it simultaneously — no, before him. But at 
length the wearied brain and body were enjoying 
nature's sweet balm. » 

He slept later than usual, but, looking at his 
watch, he found it was nine o'clock, so he jumped 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 141 

out of bed and was soon with the family. Mrs. 
D' Arcy asked if he slept well, as her son Henry had 
intimated he wste not quite well last night, but 
Claymore assured her he had slept soundly and felt 

After breakfast Mr. D'Arey started for the city 
of Gal way. 

Claymore and young D'Arcy started for some 
shooting, and bagged a fair amount of game. "On 
their way home D'Arcy playfully suggested to 
Claymore that they should call at the old abbey and 
see the relics of departed glory, or rather the guar- 
dian of them, the friend and protege of his sisters, 
old Kit Murrough, " she will tell you your fortune, 
you know," continued D'Arcy, " only you must 
look quite grave." 

As he concluded his instructions, they were at 
the stile, entering into that part of the old church- 
yard where the ruins stood, in which the old 
woman had taken up her abode. It was for the 
most part covered with ivy, which half hid the old 
gothic doorway, in which hung a heavy barred iron 
gate, for a door to admit the light and air by day, 
the bat and the owl by night, whose right to the 
place equally with hers she acknowledged — if not 
that theirs were superior, for they inhabited it 
before her. 

142 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

The gate had hung there for centuries. It was 
and must have been coeval with the building, 
considering how it was hung ; all the cross bars were 
rivited to a great round bar, two or three inches in 
diameter, set down in a huge stone, which extended 
across the old door as a threshold, the upper end of 
this bar went into a hole drilled 'into a projecting 
portion of the great stone on which rested the 
ponderous stone which formed half the arch. In 
these two holes the gates revolved, about six perpen- 
meular bars passed through the cross bars, the 
remains of a ponderous lock remained attached, but 
was long since out of order with rust, a small chain 
and padlock however was doing service, and found 
quite sufficient to keep out intruders of any sort. 
Few there were who cared to go near the place by 
day and certainly none by night. 

At a little distance stood another portion of the 
old ruins, a couple of gables with gothic windows 
almost entirely hid with ivy, a small portion of the 
side walk too remained. Inside of this were some 
old, old, tombs, with almost entirely obliterated 
inscriptions or epitaphs. 

Near by stood the vault in which rested the bones 
of the D'Arcy family for ages past, and around in 
thick groups stood the grim and gray grave stones 

Scenes and Incidents in I sh Life, 143 

like solemn silent sentinels on d day and night, 
guarding as well as pointing out die resting place 
of the peaceful dead, Erin's nobl sons and daugh- 
ters, now beyond the power of icting landlords, 
resting side by side, where loving hearts and* hands 
had laid them, hallowed by loving irayera and tears" 
To quote the lines written by a i Irishman with a 
slight change. 

" But little they'l reck if they 1 : them sleep on " 
" In the graves where each patriot laid them." 

In the midst of these mounds and monuments 
of the dead old Kit Murrought often walked and 
rested on a fine summer's day, or knelt in the ruins 
of the old chapel and prayed counting her beads, 
nor did she pray for herself alo ie, but also for the 
departed souls of the dead surrounding her, yes 
she prayed for all, she knew many, therefore feared 

On many a sunny day the old woman might 
have been seen taking her frugal meal off a tomb " 
stone for her table. 

It was to this old watcher of the dead, dwelling 
in these old remains of departed glory, our friends 
bent their steps. 

As they stood before the grated door, which was 
closed, the visitors thought how strong is the force 

144 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Lift, 

of habit, otherwise why srTould she close this open 

The grass grew green almost to the very door, so 
that their foot steps were not heard. At first they 
thought the old woman was not in, but a sigh fell 
upon their ears with words, the old woman was 
telling her beads. 

At length young D'Arcy gently called : — " are 
you within Mrs. Murrought," the old woman 
presented herself at the door, when she at once 
recognized the two gentlemen, Ce arrah musha but is 
that yoursel misther Henry and misther Claymoor, 
will your honner be plazed to kum into my poor 

" ! said D'Arcy, more important people than 
any of us, have dwelt within these walls before 
now, Mrs. Murrought," and he continued, " Mr. 
Claymore wished to visit you, he has heard the 
young ladies talk so much about you." 

The old woman went to a sort of an old fire place 
or an apology for one, took an old tongs, that had 
lost its head, while doing duty of some sort, and 
now, like an indigent pensioner, did occasional duty 
and kept guard over a limited chaos, primed and 
fired, and then, — as you were — or stand at ease, 
with this she poked up a few coals out of the ashes, 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 145 

laid on a sod of turf, or broke one in two, blew away 
at the coals, laid on a few bits of sticks and soon 
had a blaze, which threw, a gloomy light over the 
cheerless and ghostly abode. Some straw lay in one 
corner of the apartment, with some bedclothes 
folded up upon it, rather after the military style, 
an old box did duty as a table, pantry and side-board 
combined, a three legged stool, which stood up on 
its feet fairly and squarely, on this the old woman 
generally sat, an old chair also stood or rather 
tumbled one side, as it had only three legs, but 
unlike the stool could not accommodate itself to 
circumstances, but like a great many people in the 
world, if they have not all they want or have been 
accustomed to,, tumble over and become neither 
useful nor ornamental. In this case, since it was 
a hind leg that was gone, D'Arcy placed it against 
the wall, balanced his weight upon it and made it 
do duty. The old woman sat upon her bed. An 
old bottle stood near what appeared to be the head 
of the bed. This did not contain what usually 
imparted spirits to an Irishman or occasionally an 
Irishwoman, but on the contrary what banished 
spirits. In short it contained some holy water. 

After a little trifling chat, D'Arcy said " now 
Kitty I want you to do a favor for me.'' " Arrah 

146 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

allannah what could a poor ould forlorn crather 
loike me do for you— misther Henry, sure an I'd do 
any thing in the wide world for you sur." Well 
now, said he, " I want you to tell Mr. Claymore 
what is in store for him, what sort of a wife he is 
likely to get, and his luck. He is only an English- 
man, so you won't find him a hard subject, you 
have not light to see his hand now." " 0, begor, I'll 
get alight sur in a jiffy if that willplaze you.' ? As 
she spoke she stepped to a niche in the wall, took 
down a dipped rush and a holder, the latter is 
somewhat like a large pincers with one of its 
handles perpendicular and stuck in a small wooden 
block, like a crane standing on one leg, the other 
cocked out a little, with a slight weight at the end 
of it to make it drop down and so keeps the upper 
end or jaws shut, between these jaws the rush is 
placed, as it burns it is pushed upwards. 

The old woman held this over Claymore's hand, 
while with a knowing half comic smile she studied 
the palm, after a few minutes she muttered — as if 
to herself — " well that's quare, that's quare." " Well, 
what do you read there Kitty ? ' ? said D'Arcy, " come 
now tell it all, is it good or bad or both together, I'll 
bet a month's pay its the latter," " That I may 
niver sin misther Henry but you'r right as sixpence.' 7 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 147 

" There, sur, look there, there's a harp, that's a 
sign of pleasure and happiness in sthore for you in 
Ireland, your honnor. But here's what bother's me 
entirely. Its a heart with a break in it, and more 
be token the point of it drops below the harp, which 
manes the happiness will be before the sorrow that's 
in that heart, which may all the saints and holy 
angels purvint, I pray this night, Amin. Hi-sh-sh ? " 
said the old woman as she shaded the light with 
her hand, as an owl wheeled in through the grating 
and out again, " the owls are after you Claymore " 
said D'Arcy, laughing, " what sign is that Kitty ? 
one made its way into Mr. Claymore's room a few 
nights ago," " sure Mr. Henry the poor crathers 
cant help it," and so the old woman relinquished 
his hand. 

Well, now, " Mrs. Morritt, replied Claymore, as 
that was the nearest he could go towards pronouncing 
her name, " tell us what is mister Henry's fate or 
luck, I want to hear," " not to-night, not to-night Mr. 
Claymoor, av ye pleaze, my eyes are gettin bad sur, 
sure I hope and pray a cloud may never darken his 
soul or heart any way." 

After a little more conversation the two gentlemen 
took their departure, but not without slipping the 
price of a grain of tay and sugar and a bit of tobaccy 

148 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 

into the old woman's hand. As they disappeared 
through the style of the church-yard, the old 
woman muttered to herself, " allannah machree, 
shure I wouldn't have towld him for all the 
goold of a black, God betune us and harm, sure an 
I heerd the black carriage a rowlin. It niver kums 
without a bringin sumthin that's not good, O wirrah, 
warrah struh, but what is to happen at all, at all, 
I'll tel the blessed priesht in the mornin. 

Claymore laughed at the whole thing, but would 
not venture to say what he thought the old woman 
was hinting at, namely that he was in love with 
one of the young ladies at the Hall, the harp, and 
of course some sorrow must come. But thought 
he why would she not tell the fortune for D'Arcy, 
and then he thought of his adventure the night 
before, and he now experienced a feeling, which he 
could not banish or shake off, and he really 
experienced a slight shade of melancholy. He 
related his introduction and interview with the old 
woman when he got home, as they sat at dinner, 
and laughed at what had occurred, so did the ladies. 

Dinner over they retired to the drawing-room, 
when Claymore requested the ladies to repeat the 
song of the daisy. 

" I think, Mr. Claymore, said Lucy, that our old 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 149 

owlish protege at the abbey has exercised an 
influence over you, and brought on a slight attack 
of the sentimental melancholy, I hope she has not 
alarmed the soldier, with conj tiring up a ghost of a 

Without any further hesitation Lucy sat down to 
the piano, whilst Mary stood beside her, and sang 
so sweetly. 

sad is my heart for my love's far away, 
And the primrose is gone from the lawn. 

As they sang, Claymore experienced such a thrill 
pervade his soul, and the soft sweet voice of Mary 
D'Arcy had such a touch of melancholy in it, that 
a tumultuous feeling glowed within his breast, and 
to which he yielded himself up, a willing and 
enamored captive, Mary D'Arcy was the harp to his 
heart, and held his destiny, without dispute. The 
old woman was right, his heart confessed it. 

Next morning after breakfast D'Arcy and Clay- 
more started again for a day's sport, duck and snipe 
were plentiful and a good number of hares were 
started, a fine well trained pointer kept close to heel, 
from time to time he swept ahead of them, as a 
snipe whirred up here and there from the spring or 
stream, bang, bang, went the guns of the sportsmen ; 

150 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

now and again where the springs were low there 
walked up a mallard and duck, uttering the, — to the 
sportmen — well know^n and pleasant quack, quack, 
as they rose up in the air, as if to take their bearings, 
whan bang, bang, goes the pieces, the mallard is 
winged and comes tumbling down, then commences 
a chase, flap, flap, goes the drake, into a boghole 
here, swimming away, and into the sedge and rushes 
there, then up an old cut or ravine over grown with 
stunted willows, rushes and bushes and heather • 
suddenly the bird has disappeared, they put the dog 
on, he disappears as suddenly and as completely as 
the bird, D'Arcy presses on as does also Claymore, 
full of laughter and excitement, when suddenly the 
ground seems to give way under the feet of the 
foremost and in he tumbles head and heels into a 
pit, nor could Claymore stop himself until he was 
landed or rather the opposite on the top of D'Arcy, 
most unceremoniously. The latter was almost 
suffocated, as indeed was Claymore. Tiiey floun- 
dered about independently, catching at the rushes 
and bushes nearest, out of breath, they paused, up 
to their armpits, and holding on to some willows. 

" Faith that's an enchanted duck " said D'Arcy, 
a decoy. " By George your wrong said Claymore, 
that was a drake, we are the ducked, in earnest.'' 

Seen es and In ciden ts in Irish Life. 151 

" Faith and be me soul you'l get a tashte more av it 
me bouchals, before yer a day oulther," says a 
gruff voice, from out of the earth somewhere, and 
simultaneously a terrible shower of dirty water on 
top of them, yet not a human being could they see. 
Claymore was in a terribly uncomfortable state of 
mind and body, and perfectly helpless. In an instant 
souce conies another volume of water, and another 
voice growled out as mysteriously as the first, as 
if from the bowels of the earth, " drownd thim the 
divils, and the divils scure to thim, its a small 
dhram and a straight gam they'l enjoy to-morrow 
in their coffins, and the divil mind thini." 

" Hold, hold there/' said D'Arcy. " Faith hould there 
yourself, and its little you'l want to hould on to 
when the sun is gone down as low as your mother's 
son is now, I think your houlden will be a small one 
soon, and the divil be your landlord, and give ye a 
long lase," when souce came another bucket of water 
on to their devoted and already well deluged heads, 
again D'Arcy remonstrated, and now feeling con- 
vinced there was r a mistake, he endeavored to 
hold a parley with his unseen tormentors or foes." 

" For heavens sake, man, devil or ghost, what 
ever you are, help us out of this hole." " Faith 
and it will be to help you into another, that you 

152 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 

won't jump out av so aisy, nor all at wausht, and 
where yez el be more on your manners, and make 
less nise, and botherashin, and I'll make bould to 
tell yez, that yez ill find on the inside of it more 
shtill than whishkey, and more betoken av yez 
dont find the worms yez want, the worms yez dont 
want will find ye, and the divil resaive the much 
sperits they'l find in yez." 

If D'Arcy and his companion in affliction did not 
see clearly with their bodily eyes because of all the 
mud and dirty water dripping off their devoted heads, 
D'Arcy saw mentally by the drift of the last speech 
of consolation delivered by the unseen, that they 
were taken for revenue officers in plain, but now 
very dirty clothes, and that they were in the vicinity 
of a still hole or cave, seeing that the voice talked 
about the still and worms, etc. 

We are not revenue officers, nor anything of 
the sort said D'Arcy, " I am young mister D'Arcy 
of Gurteen. and a friend, we have been out shooting. 
Help us out of this pit we are almost drowned and 
dead with cold." 

" by the tare of war, and the divil be from me, 
if its not misther Henry himself,'' said a voice, " 
blood-an-ouns," and a form of a man, half dressed, 
an old battered caubeen on his head, appeared 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 153 

through the bushes, and while uttering, ejaculating 
and pronouncing all sorts of maledictions and 
anathemas upon his own head and hands, for not 
some how or other instinctively knowing who was 
there, while he was making butts of them for his 
wit and water. They were helped out with the 
greatest alacrity and profusest apologies. 

" Bigor Mr. Henry, your honner you ought to 
pray the divil cut the hands av me," " for helping 
us out, said D'Arcy," " begorrah no yer honner, 
but for keeping yez there in such disrespect." " If 
that was all we were in, said D'Arcy, we would be 
looking and feeling better than we are now, what 
will we do, Claymore, said he, we surely cannot 
walk home in this time-. ?" 

" Kum this way yer honners, and the devils look 

to me, what's kum over me at-all at-all, kum on 

sur, shtoop down there, shtoop down." Soon the 

leader was going on all fours and so were his 

followers, who presented a most comical picture, 

they looked half nigger, half tattood Newzealander, 

they could not resist laughing at each other. They 

saw a light glimmer as they dragged themselves 

forward, and soon they emerged into a small room 

or space, where a couple of tallow candles were 

burning, stuck in wo sods of turf. Here they 

154 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

found another man and a woman, who they found 
to be none others than Barney Lynch, the celebrated 
pothen distiller, his wife and son, 

" Kitty allanah, said Barney, the divil be from 
me if I havnt kilt misther Henry with a cowld 
faiver which he'll kum by, what'll we do wid him 
and Mr. Claymoor. They'll be kilt wid a cowld, 
bile up some wather acushla in a jiffy and will give 
thim a drhop of punch. Bigor yer honners ye 
better take a little dhrop in its shtate of nather, to 
hjate up yer blood, and warm yer heart." 

An old tin saucepan was set over some burning 
charcoal, so that no smoke would be created, which 
would betray the locality and warm the place. 

Barney's ingenious mind at once was at work, to 
make them comfortable as possible. He therefore 
suggested that they should divest themselves of all 
their clothes, which were anything but useful or 
ornamental, and that one of them should put on his 
big heavy frize coat and the other his son's and 
make themselves as comfortable as circumstances 
would allow, and he modestly added, that Kitty 
would lave the room while they were making the 
change, and that further more, his son Thady would 
run over to the Hall, and bring back some dry clothes. 
Well, they saw there was no help for it, so accepted 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 155 

Barney's offer and acquiesced in his proposal, and 
urther, that they took a drop or more of the cray ther 
which was already working wonders in their heads 
and hearts. 

So Kitty retreated as gracefully as circumstances 
would admit through a different entrance from that 
by which they entered, which they found was 
another part of the establishment and out of which 
crawled the dog. The drake got his neck cracked 
for himself in true Irish style, and made stop his 
noise, as was at first threatened to themselves. 
They q lickly disrobed, and as quickly donned the 
great coats, and sat down upon a fine dry pile of 

The son was dispatched for the clothes, his wife 
Kitty was recalled, to finish boiling the water, and 
they sat Esquimeaux fashion looking on and talking 
to Barney, about his luck and his work, which he 
considered all right, anything agin the government, 
" but you see sur this is not agin them, but 
unknownsht to them, and what the eye does not see 
the heart does not grieve for." Well the water is 
boiled, so they mix the punch in two old tin saucepans, 
Barney's wife produced some sugar, not loaf, never- 
theless no objection was made. The host and 
hostess was sharing all they had with them, they 

156 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

took it in good hot condition, and found that their 
systems soon were in the same condition, further- 
more they soon found themselves in a more merry 
mood than their position and condition should have 

It occurred to D'Arcy, should the revenue officers 
light upon the place, while they were in their 
present state, and arrest all in the name of the 
Queen, and march them all off to the nearest town, 
what would be done. The possibility of such an 
event was not pleasant to contemplate by any 
means, what a story thought D'Arcy will it be for 
the mess. 

" What a laugh thought Claymore would the 
ladies have at us at the Hall, if they only saw us 

In less than an hour young Lynch was back with 
the clothes to the great comfort of the two guests of 
Barney and his amiable spouse. The latter took 
the hint and took herself away. The two gentlemen 
were congratulating themselves upon their good 
fortune when as they drew forth the different 
articles of raiment, lo and behold what should they 
find but tight knee breeches and short stockings, 
making them look like a species of highlander, 
however there was no help for it, but as it was now 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 157 

dark they could easily avoid the eyes of the curious. 

However in memory of the occasion, as also a 
memento of the place, each took a bottle of the real 
mountain dew in his pocket and handsomely 
thanked and rewarded Barney and his partners for 
their goodness and goods experienced and enjoyed, 
crawled out of their romantic retreat, piloted by 
Thady, and put upon the direct path, they bent 
their steps towards home. They had not gone far 
before they perceived a dark body at some • little 
distance, they paused and soon a voice rang out 
" who goes there," " a friend," replied D'Arcy, when 
they were ordered to advance or be fired upon. 
Now our heroes were in a great plight. Here was 
a patrol, who now demanded of them who they 
w T ere, they gave their names and all particulars, but 
they were made the subject of much mirth, because 
of their very ungentle manly costume, as they 
looked more like the members of some secret 
society, and that they were trying to impose upon 
the patrol. 

They were therefore marched off to the nearest 
farmhouse, where a dance happened to be going 
forward ; terrified looked the assembled people as 
the armed patrol filed into the house and ushering 
in the two gentlemen in their peculiar dress. As their 

158 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

new small clothes were buckskin they looked as if 
they had no nether garments on, so the girls screamed ; 
but being assured that there was no need of being 
alarmed, the patrol examined them and finding 
that the two gentlemen were not rebels or white-boys, 
they were released with an apology, but that did 
not lessen their annoyance at having been thus 
exposed. But D'Arey w T as determined to make the 
best of it, and as the potheen was still doing duty, 
the dance commenced, D'Arcy taking one of the 
most rollicking of the girls, danced a rattling reel, 
to the great amusement and delight of all, whilst 
Claymore stood and looked on, more like a mild 
picture of a half civilized Indian of the Mohawks 
than a lieutenant af the H. E. I C. S. To confess 
the truth he felt more abashed than D'Arcy, who 
having finished his dance, made his best bow, paid 
the fiddler, shouldered his fowling piece and marched. 

When they arrived at the Hall, each made a dash 
for his own room, and to dress as rapidly for a 
spoiled dinner as possible, each indulged in a hearty 
laugh as he surveyed himself in his looking-glass. 

D'Arcy thought he looked as if he was being 
prepared for an advanced degree in masonry. 
However there was no time for thinking, but still 
it rushed through his mind what sort of a picture 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 159 

he must have presented on the floor dancing the reel. 

The commander of the patrol guessed where they 
had met their fate, as he was not unfamiliar with 
the place, with which it was not his duty to 
interfere, rather otherwise, nor was this an exception, 
for such were Lynch's best customers, and until 
very lately indeed, many jf the head and sub- 
constables and men of the constabulary enjoy many 
a bottle of good potheen, unpoluted by the brand 
or breath of an exciseman, whose exorcisms were 
considered baneful, and if the distiller of this genuine 
Irish mountain dew had any qualms of conscience 
they were dispelled by the fact that the rector and 
parish priest took many a galloi of the nectar. 

O the parish priest and good rector, 
Like patriots loved this Irish nectar, 
It helped their classic soliloquising, 
And lent a glow to their sermonising* 

At length D'Arcy and Claymore descend to the 
little cozy parlor where the three ladies are sitting, 
sewing or reading, a look of suppressed merriment 
is on the faces of both parties. 

" I suppose you have been dining out gentlemen, 
said Miss Lucy," with an arch look and smile, " I 
do not see why you could not have come home and 
dressed, and let us know what were your thoughts 

60 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

or intentions, if they were at all clear to yourselves, 
and not to have kept us waiting for you, while you 
were enjoying yourselves up to your eyes in good 
cheer, and your faces all aglow with enjoyment, or 
like sunbursts, in the midst of your brilliant com- 
pany under the blaze of your fairy chandeliers. Do 
give us a full account of your romantic adventures," 

Mrs. D'Arcy sat smiling and looking at the two 
young men, and Mary smiled as she looked from 
Lucy to her brother and Claymore, and then cast 
down her eyes at her sewing. 

" By George, mother, said D'Arcy, we fell into a 
boghole, one on top of the other, I first and Clay- 
more on top of me, we were almost suffocated at 
the entrance to Lynch's still, as we were in pursuit of 
a winged mallard." 

Here Mary burst out into a low sweet laugh at 
the picture presented to her mind's eye. Her voice 
sounded as* sweet to the ear of Claymore, as the 
notes of the first cuckoo in spring, and to the great 
enjoyment of the little domestic party D'Arcy told 
the whole of the evening and night's adveiitures 
which convulsed all with laughter. 

Well, after dinner was over, D'Arcy proposed to 
Claymore that they attend the wake of a farmer 
named Thady Kelly, whose house was a couple of 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 161 

miles across the fields, and an old tenant of the 
family. " It will be an opportunity for you to see 
an Irish wake, Claymore/' said D'Arcy, " if you are 
not too jaded after the day's adventures. The people 
will be much pleased to see us go over, and give 
us as warm a welcome as Barney Lynch did to-day 7 
after he promised us a wake of our own after sun 

" I was thankful for the resurrection he gave us, 
at all events," said Claymore, provoking a laugh. 

After a little enjoyable chat and some songs the 
two adventurers once more started out, each with 
his black thorn in his hand. As they walked across 
the pastures and meadows, surrounded with grand 
old haw and black thorne hedges, with here and 
there a fine old tree dark with its thick body of ivy, 
now and then a green plover would swoop past in 
close proximity to them, and with a startling whirrh 
accompanied with its shrill cry of pee-e-e-wit ? pee-e-e, 
and responded to by many others in the distance, 
mingled with the peculiar whistle of the gray or 
golden plover. All combined to create a wierd and 
lonely impression. Especially to the thoughtful and 
romantic was there an additional charm lent to the 
time and place. 

In truth, after a short sojourn in the isle of saints 

162 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

and fairies, not to speak of those born and bred there, 
the rnind and soul receive a grand baptism or inspi- 
ration, which makes life on the dear old soil co-es- 
sential to many, the love for both co-extensive. 

The short stay in the isle of the Banshee had 
already worked a great change in the soul and feel- 
ings of Claymore, He had determined upon making 
it his home, for neither India's nor England's attrac- 
tions had ever so possessed his soul and exercised 
such watching charms. 

The very exhalations from the upland or bog, 
mountain or moore, brook, river and spring seemed 
like aromatic drugs infusing a new life of feeling 
thoughts and aspirations. 

He was suddenly aroused from his reverie, by 
D'Arcy's voice addressing him, with " by George, 
Claymore, I think the effects of that mountain dew 
under the heather has not taken its departure from 
you yet, you are so silent, here we are near the place, 
did you not hear the wailing as the door was opened ? 
Poor old Thady when he used to go to the fairs or 
markets and take a little too much, as soon as he 
got home he started all the family, boys and girls, of 
which he had seven of the former and two of the 
latter, — to bring water from the spring well in tubs, 
buckets and pails, until everything was full. Then 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 163 

he set them to filling up the turf corner with turf, 
not a soul daring to refuse or rebel. 

Then he sat down in the corner, declaring that as 
long as he lived he would show all due respect fur 
the sperits, who was owld friends of his and his 
father afore him. 

That the " good people," should have plenty of 
wather to make punch and turf to bile it, when the 
family were all ashleep. 

As the fairies are called the good people or gentry, 
by way of conciliation and further there was always 
fire left on the hearth for them at night. 

Then poor old Thady made one of the boys take 
down his flute off the dresser and play, and a dance 
was set going, and as the neighboring boys or girls 
would drop in, all joined in the dance ; old Thady 
laughing and cheering or snapping his fingers and 
throwing up his heels at intervals, all looked as 
merry as butterflies and oblivious to all care. 

Such was the history of poor old Thady Kelly, 
who was now no more. 

He had a brother Paudeen, who was known by 
the nickname of Paudeen Awneen. He had been 
evicted from his place a short time before, and had 
to take refuge in a sandpit, covered over with some 
branches, a donkey dung kish* stopped the entrance ; 

* A square wicker basket for a horse or donkey car. 

164 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

in this sandpit, himself, his wife and five children 
were sheltering themselves, only from the wind, for 
all the rain poured in upon them; to prevent the fire 
being put out they scooped a hole in the side of the 
pit and made a hole through to the surface to let out 
some of the smoke. Here a strong industrious man 
and his family huddled together like wild beasts, 
not because of dishonesty nor laziness, but because 
he was a Eoman Catholic, and moreover the estate 
had been sold and was purchased by an Englishman 
who had made much money as a tanner, and was 
encouraged by the government to come over and 
dwell here. He was made a magistrate, aud at once 
set himself above any of the old families around. 
His servants were all English. He would not allow 
the priest to celebrate mass in chapel, barn, house 
or way side, he persecuted and prosecuted them. 
That was the humor of the times and order of the 
day. He applied for, and was granted a company 
of foot of an English regiment, stationed near his 
residence. This added to his importance considerably 
as also his insolence, so poor Thady Kelly was 
evicted to make way for improvements, and so has 
it been in the majority of cases, an honest hard- 
working peasantry were made beggars and rebels, 
the goad of some whimsical and greedy wretch. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Li/e. 165 

Sometimes it happened that an Irish family, 
bribed by English gold and titles turned traitors, 
Judases, these were more to be despised than the 

The reader will pardon the digression or not, just 
as he likes. 

Arrived at Kelly's, they opened the half-door ? 
then touched the latch of the other and entered that 
room of all rooms, the kitchen, dining and sitting 
room, frequently the ballroom, at night a bed-room, 
containing as it did, and as does most of such 
houses to the present time — that piece of furniture 
so well described and in so few words, by the im- 
mortal Goldsmith. 

" The chest, contrived a double debt to pay,' 1 
" A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day." 

Only instead of " chest of drawers " supply seat or 
lounge. On such a piece of furniture sat four or 
five men, the room was full from the door into the 
chimney corner, not a loud word was to be heard, 

The room was filled with tobacco smoke and the 
smell of whiskey punch, every man, woman and 
child had a new long shanked pipe in their hands. 

In a little room behind the dresser sat a com- 
mittee, the latter article of furniture forming the 

166 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 

partition for a bedroom which generally contained 
two bedsteads, foot to foot, but these were cleared 
out for the committee who superintended the to- 
bacco, pipes, punch and snuff distribution to all 

The two gentlemen were at once led into another 
room behind the hob, — as the back and both sides 
of the fire place was called, — In this room stood the 
bed on which the corpse was laid, covered over 
with a white sheet ; a crowd of women mostly sat 
around the room, each wdth a measure of punch in 
her fist. As they entered at first and passed on into 
the inside room, a low whisper ran through the crowd 
and such remarks as " begor there is misther Henry 
and Mr. Clay moor, God bless him, and all his family, 
begor the poor w 7 ill niver be shlited nor forgot by 
any av thim, not all as one and as belike owld 
Mugunia over beyant there, the owld intherloper, 
the curse O Crommel an him, and all uv his loikes, 
nun av our foine dacent ould ginthry as takes up 
wid him at all at all." These contemptuous remarks 
were made in reference to Bareham, the English 

As D'Arcy and'his companion entered, the former 
walked over towards the bed to take a look at the 
corpse, when all of a suddent, as the Irish say, wile 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 167 

and children drew around the bed, and commenced 
a most heart-rending cry, or keen, and at the same 
time addressing the dead, somewhat in the following 
manner : — O father, father darling, father asthore 
machree, if you only knew who was standing over 
you to-night how glad you would be to see him, 
and to shpake, to him av you could, — misther 
Henry, but shure its yoursel he'd loike to see 
to-night, — father, father, won't you shpake to as 
no more, no more, no more ! you were the kind, 
pleasant father to all av us, our hearts are braken 
for you father asthore, asthore." 

Here others in the room joined in too, all was 
heartfelt and heart rending, the voices mingling in 
most funereal cadences. 

After a while D'Arcy and his companion sat 
down, as also all the rest who had stood up upon 
their entrance. 

A little conversation ensued concerning the old 
man's death, etc., and now a general chat was 
indulged in. but a few moments before when the 
notes of wailing filled the house, a dead silence was 
observed by the assembled neighbors, a goodly 
number shedding tears. 

A man now entered with two tumblers of strong 


whiskey punch, genuine potheen, from the very 

168 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

place the two gentlemen were introduced to that 
very evening, and the thoughts of which rushed 
into both minds simultaneously, and as their eyes 
mechanically turned towards each other, in obe- 
dience to the passing thought, told as plainly as 
words could do, what was passing in each mind, 
which almost caused a broad grim on each face, 
especially that of D'Arcy's. 

As they had finished drinking their punch and 
were presented with pipes and tobacco, some friends 
from a distance entered the already crowded room, 
w r hen the two gentlemen slipped out to the kitchen 
and sat down with the crowd and were told about the 
last spree of poor old Thady, and how he cursed " by 
all the goats in the barrack, that a pipe o' tobacco 
would not be shmoked over his corpse until he drank 
the health of the young masther, misther William 
sur, the captain." But begor death kum all of a 
suddent your honner, and more is the pitty, he was 
an honisht dacent ould man and a good naybor and 
to the poor, misther Henry. Begor he loiked good 
music too ^ur, and to see the boys and girls dancing. 

Just then a big strong girl who was sitting on a 
low stool, her back against the side of the fire-place, 
and having fallen asleep gave a snort and drew the 
attention of those around, when as another up 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 169 

current was in progress, one of the boys applied a 
good pinch of snuff, which went up freely, and the 
result was surprising, she sneezed and snorted and 
sneezed, and a titter ran throughout the whole lot, 
and as soon as the poor girl could speak, she said, 
" the divil's luck to ye, ye divils, which of yez did 
that ? " and she laughed good-naturedly over it. 
Suddenly a young man entered and whispered some- 
thing, which was soon communicated to all, and 
created a great commotion. D'Arcy asked what 
was amiss, when he was told the soldiers were 
marching down, and Bareham, the magistrate of 
Foxdell, was in the middle of them, and evidently 
bent upon some mischief or annoyance. Sure 
enough, in a few moments they had surrounded the 
house, and the captain with a sergeant walked in, 
and read a paper, signed by Bareham ; in the name 
of the king, ordering them all to disperse peaceably ? 
and that any person found loitering around, except 
the immediate members of the family, would be 
committed to jail. D'Arcy expostulated, and repre- 
sented that such was unjust and harsh, and most 
uncalled for. " I am subject to the orders of the 
magistrate ," said the captain, to whom D'Arcy was 
known. " Where is the magistrate ? " said D'Arcy, — 
" He is on horseback outside in the middle of the 


170 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

men/' said the officer. D'Arcy proceeded to the yard 
and represented the cruelty and injustice of such 
proceedings ; that the assembled people were the 
friends of the dead, and sympathisers with the 
bereaved and sorrowing family, and he was suddenly 
interrupted by Bareham with — " Who are you, sir, 
who dares to interfere with my authority ? I suppose 
some damned rebel or papist, the smell is rank, sir, 

This uncivil, strutting speech incensed D'Arcy, 
who replied, " I should not have thought, sir, that 
your smell was so nice after your long and close 
acquaintance with the putrid exhalations of dog pelts. 
I presume your authority or commission is written 
upon a skin of your own tanning." 

" Who is that fellow ? arrest him," roared Bareham. 

" You need not be alarmed, sir, about identifying 
me ; I am Henry D'Arcy, of Gurteen Lodge, lieu- 
tenant in his Majesty's dragoons. v 

As he said this a cheer rent the air and another 
and another, with a loud voice immediately after 
ringing out, " Long live the D'Arcy's of Gurteen;' 
and then such a cheer, — it was tremendous. " Treason, 
murder/' shouted Bareham. The people had just 
come out of the house, had paused and heard 
D'Arcy's words ; he turned towards them and 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 171 

advised them to disperse, so as to give no cause of 

Then, turning to Bareham, he said : 11 if you wish 
to arrest me, sir, you can do so, if not, you know 
where to find me when I may be required." 

Bareham made no reply, except to mutter some- 
thing between his teeth. His fury knew no bounds ; 
he was so terrified and confused at what just occur- 
red he knew not what to say or do, until D'Arcy 
and Claymore had turned on their heels and walked 
away, unmolested. The officer in command had 
ordered his men to fall in, and marched them off, 
Bareham keeping close with them, trembling with 
agitation and fear. 

u This state of things is beyond endurance," said 
D'Arcy as they walked towards home, " to think 
that a peaceable, honest people should be persecuted 
after this manner at the whim or freak of a low-bred 
dog like that fellow. The unfortunate people are 
treated as if they w T ere mere slaves, suspected and 
hounded continually. 

u If I were king, this would be one of the happiest 
nations on the gloBe, and defended by a brave 
people. Let them but enjoy religious freedom like 
rational beings — freedom and unrestricted trade, 
commerce and manufacture — restore the vast estates 

172 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

swept away from our best and noblest families 
upon the merest pretext, and there will be universal 
peace and prosperity, 

" Ghirteen or any of our family have never 
required military to protect us nor anything belong- 
ing to us, and why ? Because my father acts kindly 
and trusts the people, appeals to their htoor and 
religious sentiments and teaching ; religion will ever 
control and influence the Irish, for they are essen- 
tially a religious people ; love and kindness will 
enslave them, — but the last drop of their blood 
will have to be spilled to conquer or vanquish them 
by force, compulsion or persecution. Just think of a 
man who, being clothed with a little power, can 
make a descent upon the house of the dead, and 
wantonly insult and disperse those harmless people, 
and outrage their feelings so wantonly. I felt indig- 
nant.'' " So must he," replied Claymore, laughing, 
" after your speech concerning his sense of smell. 
He will call you out.'' " Not if I called him lout/ ? 
said D'Arcy, rhyming ; he has been too long accus- 
tomed to taking care of his skin and keeping it 
whole, at the same time I think his shin is too thick 
to be easily punctured or pricked." 

They were now walking up the avenue and in a 
few moments were resting themselves and laughing 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 17 

over the events of the night ; a little more and they 
were each fast asleep, induced no doubt by the 
exercise and experience of the day and night. 

The thrush whistles loud in the tree, 
The black bird is heard in the brake, 

The ploughman is off to the lea, 
sleeper. sleeper awake. 

The sun rises over yon hills, 

The frost sparkles under its ray, 

The landscape is lovely, and fills 
The heart full of life for the day. 

The pee-wit is out on the moor, 

The gray plover, too, is at rest. 
The dreary waste makes them secure, 

Until the sun sinks in the west. 

When darkness has shrouded the field, 
Or the moon bred shades in the dell, 

Then my soul to sombre thoughts yield, 
And poetry's magical spell. 

17 1 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 


RE AKFAST is scarcely over, the events of the 
; night are being discussed, prophesied upon, or 

^ laughed at, when the roll of carriage wheels 
is heard rumbling along the avenue, and soon a car- 
riage and pair halt at the door, and immediately a 
ratta-tat-tat-tat on the knocker. The coachman asks 
some one -to come and assist the gentleman out of the 
carriage. It is Mr. D'Arcy himself, looking pale and 
weary and sick ; a strange gentleman is with him in 
the carriage, soon the carriage is surrounded by loving 
faces and anxious. " William, love, what has hap- 
pened ? " says Mrs. D'Arcy. " Papa, darling, are you 
sick or has any accident happened/' said the girls 
simultaneously, and with alarm and anxiety depicted 
upon every feature. His son, Claymore and the 
strange gentleman, — who is a person of portly pre- 
sence and polished address, help Mr. D'Arcy into the 
house, and lay him on the sofa in the cosy breakfast 
parlor. His wife and daughters kiss him with loving 
tenderness, as they lovingly entreat him to say 
" what has occurred." He answers feebly and ten- 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 175 

derly, " Do not bo alarmed love, I hope I will soon 
be better ; I am feverish, I fear I have caught cold, I 
think the sheets on my bed at the hotel were damp." 

During this little scene the stranger had with- 
drawn to the window recess and stood looking out 
upon the lawn. 

Mr. D'Arcy now looked towards him, and, 
addressing him as Sir Edward, introduced him to 
Mrs. D'Arcy and each of the family as Sir Edward 
Newhain of Fernmount, on the Munster or Tipperary 
side of the Shannon. He happened to be in Galway 
at the same time, on the same business as Mr. 
D'Arcy, and so kindly offered to see him home, as 
he felt so weakly, therefore hired a carriage with 
which he would continue his journey. 

He was warmly thanked by all for his kindness ; 
he remained until after luncheon, when he took his 
departure, with a request that he would be favored 
with a letter from time to time concerning Mr. 
D'Arcy's state of health, and with kind expressions 
of desire for the cultivation of a closer acquaintance, 
a feeling which was mutual. Mr. D'Arcy and Sir 
Edward had been acquainted with each other, 
officially rather than otherwise, for years. 

It was ordained that he was yet further to play 
the part of the friend, to at least some of the family 
of Gurteen, as the sequel will show. 

176 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

The doctor was sent for immediately, who, when he 
arrived, ordered Mr. D'Arcy to bed directly, and 
informed young D'Arcy that his father was very ill, 

Claymore was much agitated, as the strange 
occurrence of a few nights before occurred to his 
mind. He endeavored to shake off the feeling as 
foolish ; but the strange noise, the priest's words and 
expressed fears, add to this, the old woman's strange 
conduct at the old abbey, concerning young D'Arcy, 
all had taken such possession of his thoughts that 
his mind was filled with fearful forebodings. He 
felt a strange gloom settle down upon him, which he 
could not shake off, do what he would. 

He accompanied the ladies in some walks and 
drives. He especially enjoyed actin gas Mary 
D'Arcy's escort as she visited some of the poor, and 
carried some little parcels of things made for them 
by herself. 

As they returned one evening from such a walk, 
and were crossing the fields, he offered his arm to 
her, which was as graciously accepted as it was 
gallantly and delicately offered. Had he touched an 
electric battery he could not have more certainly 
realized its current, than he did then the current o 
animal magnetism which pervaded his whole system 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 177 

concentrating in the heart, and producing a most 
delightful sensation. His heart repeated what 
memory supplied from Moore's Lalla Rookh, — 

" For ! if there be an elysium on earth, it is 
this, it is this/' 

He walked on in silence for a little, because of 
the tumultuous feeling within his breast ; he could 
not trust himself to speak. He had something in 
his heart to say — he knew what, but did not know 

At length he managed to say. " Dear me, how 
time flies, a few days more and I must take my 
departure." " And, I am sure, delighted you will feel 
to get away from such a stupid place, and from 
such a savage people," replied Mary D'Arcy, w T ith 
a roguish smile playing around her mouth ; but she 
continued, " I expect you will not soon forget the 
land of owls, bogholes and wakes ; it is well that 
something should be imprinted upon your memory, 
that your friends should not be too soon forgotten." 
She paused, — so did he, then replied : " Go on, Miss 
Mary, go on, I am all attention." " No," she replied, 
a I am done. I am rector, you clerk, say Amen, or 
verily yes." " Nay," said he, " I am not in a hurry 
to leave w T here I am learning what so few people 
learn, yet that all should learn." 

178 Scents and Incidents in Irish Life. 

" Dear rne, and what may that be ? you have 
kindled my curiosity," she replied, looking up at 
him, with a pair of eyes so soft, yet full of artless 

" It is to know myself," he replied. 

6i To know/' he continued, " that it is more plea- 
sant to he commanded than to command, to be led, 
than to lead, to be slave than to be free." 

" Why I should not have thought that the song 
of a Briton would ever be : — 

' Britons ever shall be slaves,' she replied. 

" Never," said he, " by force of arms, but by the 
Queen of hearts." 

" Pray who is she, and where is her realm ? " 
replied Mary. 

" You are, Miss Mary, you, none other, if you 
will know." 

" Me," she replied, " nay, goodness forbid, I had 
much rather wear the shamrock in my hair, than 
the crown of the Queen, and be what I am, an Irish 
country girl," " and," said he, "you may add, a 
charming tease, you are a capital fencer in more 
ways than one." 

" Yes, I won the brush the other day " — " And 
wounded a heart," he added. " Never touched it," 
she said, " for the dogs tore it up with the body, I 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 179 

did not want the heart, it is never taken here. Do 
they do so in England ? ,; 

He was checkmated again, yet felt more confi- 
dence, so determined to make himself understood. 
He might not have so good an opportunity again? 
so resumed, " I can never forget my visit to Ireland, 
I hope I shall never regret having come over to it.' 

" If you fall into another boghole, or go to 
another wake, or to visit another fortune-teller you 

" Xay, let me assure you," said he, u I am quite 
satisfied with the latter, as she told me I had a 
heart in this country." 

" Dear me, I hope you have," said she. " I could 
have told you that much myself ; you would be 
rather a strange body without one, and, if she was 
speaking metaphorically, why I should be sorry to 
think my brother would associate with a heartless 
person, unless it is in England in another sense, 
which is not at all strange ; but she said she saw 
the heart in your hand, Mr. Claymore, that was a 
strange way to carry it, those old women are so 
strange, and say such strange things." 

Claymore was really perplexed, and in a confused 
state of mind, and a dilemma how to proceed, so he 
made a dash, like a forlorn hope, so began : 

180 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

" Well, Miss Mary, if you will make me speak 
serious, and impart to you a secret, it is this " — 

" Pray don't tell me any secret, I may tell it 
without thinking." 

u Nay, just as you like then/' he said, " only let 
me tell it to you. 

" "V^hen I go back to England, I shall leave my 
heart in Gurteen, at the feet of Miss Mary Eleanor 
D'Arcy, which I trust she will not despise when I 
am gone," said Claymore. 

" What gallant fellows soldiers are ; I am sure I 
feel much complimented to think that employing 
you thus, I have conduced to your happiness in the 
least," she replied. 

" I have learned that my only happiness is to 
be near you, to be with you ; I lay my heart and 
affections at your feet, and trust you are not 
displeased with my making such an avowal, and 
that you are not indifferent about it wholly," said 
he nervously. 

" I am sure your visit has caused us all much 
pleasure, and, so far from being indifferent, I am 
sure it is the very opposite, and most sincerely trust 
that there will be sufficient attraction to cause you 
to return to us again." 

" Nay, that is not sufficient to tell me," said Clay- 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 181 

more, " that will never satisfy me ; can I hope, as I 
crave, for a place in your heart, will you not forget 
me ? will I be thought of with affection ? " 

" I am not so unimpressionable that I should not 
realize your kindness and attention and appreciate it 

trust/' she said, hesitatingly, and less lively than 
at first. 

"l)o I weary you, or are you displeased with 
me ? " he said, in a melancholy voice. 

" No," was the simple soft reply. 

His heart bounded within his breast, that simple 
word spoke volumes, and he added in a most 
appealing, tender tone of agitation : "One question 
more and I am happy or miserable. Do you love 
me ? " There was a pause — an anxious silence. He 
paused and looked into her face, and said, " will I 
get an answer? 99 She whispered " Yes," u Yes," said 
he, " to what ? that I will get an answer, or that yes 
is my answer ? " " Both," she replied, in an agitated 
whisper that sent a thrill of delight through his 
whole frame, heart and soul. It was the first, the 
last, the only one, for only one such moment, one 
such ray, in a whole life, is shot from Heaven, their 
lips met, their hearts were as one. Heaven what 
lies before ? V\ hat does the dark future conceal ? 
Can anything so pure, so heavenly, so sweet, develop 
thorns or bitterness or grief ? Can man be mocked, 

182 Scenes and Incidents in Irish JLife. 

or is he the sport of evil spirits ? Endowed with 
feeling, with senses to enjoy the most exquisite 
delights of the highest, holiest, purest that the 
mind or feelings of human nature can realize or 
enjoy in this life, — possessed of all this desire and 
power of enjoying those delights, he is set in the 
midst of them, nor is he forbidden to taste. He 
submits his whole soul and susceptibilities to these 
delightful influences which surround him. 

Feeling these are the creation of a good not an evil 
spirit, but of Him who is called God my Father, 
I am His child, — these are for my comfort and enjoy- 
ment, surely evil cannot lurk, an enemy cannot 
dwell here to my sorrow, hurt or destruction, — then, 
my soul, abandon thyself to bask in the sunshine of 
all that is heavenly. Fear no loathsome poisonous 
reptile ; trust in, and praise the Author of all good ; 
heed not, fear not the future which belongs not to 
thee, — the past we know, the present is for us to live 
in and enjoy. To Him, the All- wise only, are the 
pages or portals of the dark future open, — enjoy 
while you may. 

Such were the thoughts of these happy lovers, 
as they pursued their way, feeling the delights of 
possessing a mutual secret ; henceforth, the tele- 
graphic look of love conveys a volume of words, 

Scenes and Incidents of Irish Life. 183 

the silent communication of soul with soul, not 
desecrated by the intrusion of other eyes or ears. 

" who would not welcome that moment's returning, 
"When passion first wak'd a new life thro' his frame, 

" And his soul like the wood that grows precious in burning, 
" Gave out all its sweets to love's exquisite flame." 


Mr. D'Arcy still continues poorly, and in a high 
fever, the doctor ventures to say but little. If 
asked, " How do you find the patient ? " he replies, 
" getting on as well as can be expected." 

Mr. D'Arcy is very patient, and says from time to 
time, " I wish William was here." When he sleeps 
he talks of or to William. 

They at once despatched a letter to William 
D'Arcy, London, if possible to get a few weeks 
leave of absence and come home with all speed ; it 
was naturally thought that the presence of his son 
William might produce a good effect. 

The Rector made his calls, and talked with the 

The house was fairly besieged with the tenants 
and poor, asking how was the owld masther, offering 
up many a prayer for his recovery. 

Mrs. D'Arcy, Lucy and Mary each took her turn, 
together with the old nurse, to comfort and attend 
to his every want. 

184 Scenes and Incidents of Irish Life. 

Henry looked anxiou yet tried to look and 
speak hopefully. Clay re did all that a loving 
heart could do to allay ars, to impart comfort and 
to inspire hope. 

At length the doctor one day sought an interview 
with Henry D'Arcy unobserved, and said with 
tremulous voice, and pale cheek : " Mr. D'Arcy, I 
fear the worst is at hand, your mother and sisters 
ought to have it gently broken to them. It is true 
his life is in the hands of a Higher Power, but I see 
he is sinking ; give him any thing he wishes for." 

Henry D'Arcy stood like a statue, he was unable 
to utter a syllable. The doctor's solemn words fell 
upon his ears like a thunderbolt shot from the 

The doctor continued with them through the 
night ; in the morning Mr. D'Arcy seemed to rally, 
and spoke to all cheerfully and affectionately. Once 
he drew his wife and daughters to him, and kissed 
them with greatest fervency, and said : " I may not be 
long with you ; God bless you all, and His holy will 
be done. All who come to ask for me bring them into 
me, let me see them." what pen can describe the 
scene. As each of his tenants would drop in, he 
said, " God bless and watch over you all when I am 
gone, for I have not long to stay ; my son I trust 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 185 

will be kind to all, as I desired to be." Some of the 
poor beggars, who had been fed by him for years, 
came timidly to the door, looked at their benefactor 
and friend propped up with pillows, pale, weak and 
resigned. He whispered, " God help the poor." 

The hearts of all were bursting with grief. His 
poor wife and daughters hung around him with 
anxious and tearful face3, Henry paced up and down 
with aching heart and fevered brain, and he felt it 
was impossible that such an awful change should 
so soon overtake them, such a fearful cloud burst 
upon the happy devoted family ; he could not realize 
such a change at hand. The doctor may be mistaken, 
he wished his brother had arrived, he hourly looked 
for him and so his mind was diverted from the sad 
scene. Poor Claymore walked up and down with 
mingled feelings of sorrow and happiness ; sorrow, 
because of the probable loss of a noble friend, the 
father of the object of his affections, and the grief 
that would come home to all, and the likely scatter- 
ing of the happy little circle ; and happiness, because 
he felt one, in her sorrow and affliction would cling 
to him, seek and receive from him comfort and 
consolation, and finally be his for life. 

The day wore away, the sun had gone down 

behind the hills, as a great dark cloud seemed to 

186 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

rest upon their summits, and then break up into 
great floating bodies assuming every shape. 

Claymore was standing intently gazing at those 
clouds, as he leaned against the cut stone pier of the 
garden gate. The wind was rising or blowing in 
fitful gusts, the clouds changed form rapidly, and 
swept athwart the sky; suddenly a hand was laid 
gently on his arm, he started and looked around 
to find Mary D'Arcy standing beside him with a 
shawl over her head, " what are you standing here 
so lonely for ? " she said " what do you see in the 
cloud "? " I was looking said he, at those great clouds, 
and studying the different forms they assume." " I 
feel so sad," she said. " I have fearful forebodings 
that my darling father is not to be with us long," 
and she burst out crying. Claymore gently drew 
her towards him, and whispered words of loving 
consolation and hope to her, and walked into the 
house with her, and talked about the expected 
arrival of her brother William. 

How dreary the hours drag on at such a time, 
and under such circumstances. 

The hour of tea arrived but what a change ; but 
little was said, every face grave, sad, careworn, every 
eye restless, and at the slightest sound casting an 
anxious and alarmed glance in the direction whence 
it cime. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 187 

Soon Mrs. D'Arcy went to the sick room and sat 
down by the bed. " I am glad you are there Mary, 
my love," he said, " where are the rest ? " " They 
are in the parlor, do you wish for any of them, she 
said, shall I send for them ? " " I just wish to 
know that they are all there, and," he added, " I wish 
William was here. If he comes not before the sun 
rises, yea very soon, I will be away. Mary darling 
we shall meet in heaven, yes I know we shall my 
love, we shall." 

Here poor Mrs. D'Arcy cried, as she leaned over 
him, and kissed him and in broken accents said, 
" William love, how can we live without you, I 
shall not long remain behind, when my light and 
love and companion is taken from me." 

He whispered to call the rest into the room ; one 
by one they glided noiselessly in and stood near 
his bed with bursting hearts. 

He looked at each and said, " I am near the close 
my dear children, this is our last night together in 
dear old Gurteen, the dear old home, we have been 
happy here, but now must part, a home is prepared 
for us elsewhere. Is that William V 9 " No love, I do 
not think so," said Mrs. D'Arcy. " Even so," said he, 
<'he is not far off, I will see him." 

It was a little past eleven, the dying man closed 

188 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Lift, 

Ms eyes, as if resting before the final struggle, just 
then a faint sound was heard, Claymore glided out 
to see if any one had come, when he stood face to 
face with William D'Arcy. u I am so glad you 
arrived/' said Claymore. " How is my dear father," 
said the other ? " " Sinking fast," said Claymore, " he 
has been anxiously looking for you, he said a few 
moments ago he knew you were near at hand." 

William D'Arcy having divested himself of his 
great . coat, silently made his way to the room 
followed by Claymore. 

The dying man opened his eyes, looked up and 
saw his eldest son, then whispered, " thank God, 
he's come, all here, all here." 

William advanced and took his father's hand, and 
knelt beside his bed, buried his face in the clothes, 
and wept ; yes the manly frame of William D'Arcy 
trembled all over with bitter overwhelming grief as 
he knelt gently clasping his fathers' loving hand, . 
soon to be cold in death. 

u William, said the dying squire, I have only a 
few moments more, and all will be over, thanks to 
the Lord for sparing me to see you and speak to 
you, you are heir to the property, I give over to 
your charge your dear good mother, who is soon to 
b6 & widow, love her and care for her as she has you, 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 18^ 

watch over your sisters, be faithful, worthy the 
name and position, and God will bless you ; be kind 
to the tenants, you cannot do without them, nor they 
without you, distress not, nor oppress the poor, 
and may God Almighty bless you. Mary, Mary my 
love, take my hand, kiss me once more, Mary, Lucy, 

Henry, Claymore, God watch over " His eyes 

closed, his lips moved in a faint whisper " my sa- 
viour." One hand held his wife's, the other held his 
son William, a convulsive struggle and William 
D'Arcy of Gurteen was at rest, and oh ! the scene 
was heartrending. 

There lay that peaceful face calm in death, a 
loving husband and father, a kindhearted landlord, 
the friend of the poor, and his country. The 
servants cried and sobbed as they crowded around 
the door, soon the news spread like wildfire ; in every 
house there was grief ; men, women and children 
wept and wrung their hands in despair. 

As day began to break, dreary was the feeling of 
all. The sun seemed slow to cast his beams upon so 
melancholy a scene, and so sad a home. His rays, 
which at other times gladdened the hearts of the 
inmates of this old mansion, and diffused happiness 
all around, now shone in vain and unheeded. 

The black darkness of night, the ghostly bowlings 

190 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

of the tempest, or its hoarse roar through the old 
trees surrounding the old mansion where lay the 
body of the dead squire, would have been as ac- 
ceptable as if, not more so than the rays of the rising 
sun ; the day wore on; hushed were the voices of all, 
th£ very birds seemed to forget their accustomed 

The children passed not on their way to school, 
the old schoolmaster had sent word he could not 
teach while all the country was mourning. 

The poor were seen to kneel on the road in the 
vicinity of the house, and pray for the repose of the 
departed soul. 

All hearts were lifted to heaven while every 
tongue said " God rest the dead." 

Poor father Luke was inconsolable, and felt that 
one of his most devoted and sincere friends was gone, 
" Yes," he would say, " the friend and defender of 
the poor persecuted Eoman Catholic," and he was 
right ; again and again did the deceased incur the 
displeasure of the government or Protestant party, 
because he saved the Eoman Catholic from molesta- 
tion in their homes and in their worship. 

A king might envy the position the owner of 
Gurteen held in the hearts of the people, he was 
more to them than king or constitution, as all such 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 191 

men are or should be, nor would that be saying much. 
I very much think the same would be said to-day- 
If Ireland spoke through her own mouth, which she 
has not done for generations always occupying the 
position of a minor or worse. As night drew on the 
whole country seemed to wend its way to Gurteen ; 
to all the doors were open as also the hearts of the 
bereaved family, which never disdained the honest 
sympathy of the plain and poor. 

How simple the secret, and how easy of execution 
to win the hearts and affections of Erin's children. 

The house was filled, silence and sorrow pervaded 
the whole assembly. 

"With awestruck countenances the story of the 
dead- warning went from mouth to mouth. " The 
priest had heard or seen it, so had old Kit Murrought 
of the old abbey. The English gentleman, Mr. 
Claymoor, who was with the priest, heard and saw 
it, but was loth or afeerd to spake of it.' , 

Father Luke was at the Hall, as also the Rector 
and his wife ; they sat in the drawing-room together 
with many of the neighboring gentry. 

From time to time Mrs. D'Arcy silent and heart- 
broken passed to the room of death, gazed upon and 
wept over the peaceful face of her beloved, and as 
her tears fell upon the face of the dead she wiped 

192 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

them off, only to shed them still more profusely, as 
she passed her gentle hand over the lovable, placid 
features that lay before her. 

Thus slowly and yet too quickly passed the night ; 
to-morrow meant the removal of the beloved dead 
out of sight, and additional weight to the woe, to 
make sorrow, blank loneliness, desolation, more 

True, the christian hope robs death of a pang 
such as no tongue can describe, nor christian breast 
experience, and that pang is a dreary hopeless 
hereafter, a separation that knows no reunion. 

Ah ! life too short and yet too long, 
How much to change we're given, 

Too short when life is full of song, 
Too long when hearts are riven. 

Brave sorrows out, is often said. 

Yet not so eas'ly done 
We cannot sing amidst the dead. 
Nor flowers bloom, lacking sun, 

Now have commenced the sunset and sorrows of 
the Gurteen family, what a blessing that time keeps 
shut the dark portals of the future. Full of hope 
we press on from scene to scene, until the curtain 
falls, and we fall through the trap-door of the stage, 
of life into the dark abyss of death, as unconcious 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 193 

as when nature placed us upon the same stage some 
years before. 

Through the night, a carriage and pair arrived at 
Gurteen house. The occupants of the carriage were 
Sir Edward Xewham of Fernmount and his wife. 
The latter a matronly lady, with the kindest face 
imaginable, of the most graceful dignity, without 
ostentation or cold hauteur of manner. 

Her meeting with Mrs. D'Arcy was of that 
unaffected sympathetic^ nature which is so precious 
to the grief-stricken heart ; she mingled her tears 
with those of the weeping widow, and poured out 
her sympathetic heart into her ears. Early morning 
was quickly succeeded by noon, and noon by the 
hour appointed for the funeral. 

The gates of Gurteen were wide open to admit 
the continuous and almost unbroken stream of people 
from all parts, on foot, in carriages and on horseback, 
but amidst all these no nodding plumes of hearse 
were to be seen, to add to the sorrow, distress and 
oppress the already overburthened heart. 

A request had been conveyed to Mrs. D'Arcy to 
permit the hands of his loving and devoted neighbors 
and tenantry to carry him to his last resting place, 
which was as lovingly and unhesitatingly complied 
with, as the feelings which prompted the request 
were fully appreciated. 

194 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

Soon the Hall door opened and the coffin contain- 
ing the remains of the beloved squire, carried by six 
men appeared ; no sooner had they emerged from the 
house than a crowd of men and women surrounded 
the coffin ; and ! such a piercing cry as rent the air, 
it made one's heart stand still. 

Then a prolonged wail succeeded by another 
piercing cry, as a woman leading her little children 
by the hand begged to get near the coffin. This 
was Mary Kennedy the widow of poor Kennedy 
who a short time before, while lying upon his death 
bed had been ejected from his little home by a cruel 
and unfeeling landlord, and that same little home 
pulled down before his eyes as if to add torture to 
the mind of the dying man ; it will be remembered 
how he was cared for by the family at Gurteen. 

The bearers stood still, while the poor woman 
wept, moaned, wrung her hands in utter grief 
and despair, when stooping down she kissed the 
name upon the plate of the coffin, and sobbingly 
recounted to her poor weeping orphans what kindness 
the deceased had shown their dead father. 

This scene was one never to be forgotten, it was 
also a convincing lesson and sermon upon the power 
of love and practical sympathy. 

Again the mournful procession moved forward 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 195 

slowly, hundreds of loving hands eagerly and 
tenderly took turn in carrying the beloved remains. 

On moved the sad crowd to the wailing cadences 
of the mourners, who were neither hirelings nor en- 
gaged keeners, mourners by proxy there were none, 
nor any sympathetic absent-presents by proxy, by 
which I mean the hollow mockery of English society, 
where horses, empty coaches and coachmen represent 
the sympathetic owner who may be, at the same time, 
hunting or carousing elsewhere. First walked those 
who were helping to carry the dead, then came the 
carriages, jaunting cars, gigs, common cars and horse- 
men. Such a length was the procession that the 
last persons had not moved one quarter of a mile, 
w r hen the coffin was being borne through the church- 
yard gate. The entire distance being about two 
and one half miles. 

The service in the church being over, the body 
was removed from the sacred edifice, and soon the 
bearers stood before the dark "open door of the old 
vault, for the completion of the funeral service, ere 
the remains of William Henry D'Arcy of Gurteen 
were committed to its cold, dark, dreary bosom '> 
there to rest beside his ancestors of generations 

At length the coffin and bearers began slowly to 

196 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

disappear from view, the members of the family and 
near or intimate friends following. 

On a stone bench of masonry ranged around the 
interior, rested a number of coffins containing the 
remains of the ancestors of the family, sleeping their 
last sleep unmoved by and indifferent to the last 
accession to their grim numbers. 

" It is a solemn gloomy abode," thought Claymore, 
as he gazed upon the array of dead. 

The coffin beside which Mr. D'Arcy was now laid 
had on it the following inscription : — 



The 4th day of May, A.D. 1535. 
Aged 74 years. 

This member of the family must have lived in 
evenful times, and have witnessed and been cognizant 
of ^terrible struggles and intrigues, cruelty and wrong, 
in the name of religion and right. What prostituted 
words in relation to England's dealing with Ireland, 
if the multitude of histories and historians, religious, 
political or constitutional are to be trusted. 

Poor devoted Ireland was then as now the theatre 
of contending factions, torn and distressed, betrayed 
and bought by traitors and usurpers of the most 
unprincipled class, robbers and state wolves. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 197 

But, thought Claymore, " here the wicked cease 
from troubling, and the weary are at rest. The op- 
pressor and oppressed here no more feel the motions 
and power of passion, but like the dead upon the 
battle field the conqueror and the conquered lie 
calm and peaceful side by side, regardless of the is- 
sues of the day." 

Intently gazing upon the silent row of dead, he 
stood buried in reverie, nor did he perceive that he 
was almost alone, when Father Luke who stood 
beside him, quietly touched his arm, as he said, 
" come away Mr. Claymoor, come away, we can do 
no more, God rest his soul, Amen. This is a lonely 
home for such a friend of the poor and of his country. 
For one who housed the homeless and fed the father- 
less and widow, well miss him, alannah, we'll miss 

As soon as the good priest and Claymore emerged 
from the vault, the great flag stone of the door was 
fitted into its place, and the funeral procession 
dispersed each to their respective homes and house- 
holds, to talk over the sad scenes of the day, but the 
dead slept his last sleep, and returned not to that 
home and its inmates he loved so well. His vacant 
chair must stand unoccupied whilst a dreary blank 
pervades every heart, and a dark cloud hangs over 
the o ic e cheerful hearth and festive board. 

198 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

The last sympathising friend has said adieu, an 
awful oppressive silence reigns in and around the 
old home of Gurteen, the family move to and fro 
like shadows in the regions of the dead. 

Claymore feels wretched, knows not what to do 
with himself, as he aimlessly strolls about the place, 
until at length he finds himself unconciously crossing 
the fields on the path leading to the church-yard. 
He felt as if he had just lost a father too, for indeed 
he had never known one, —his father having died 
when he was only an infant, — but the father of the 
object of his heart's warmest affections had been 
removed, so that their joys and sorrows were 
mutual from henceforth. At all events the 
atmosphere in the vicinity of the old abbey was 
more congenial to his feelings than anywhere else 
just then, and in his present mood he desired to be 
alone ; he suddenly paused at the stile leading into 
the church-yard, where he could see the old abbey, 
the vault within which he had been standing a 
short time before, and the hawthorn cross so care- 
fully trimmed every spring, as it stood with 
outstretched arms or cast its shadow over the 
surrounding dead ; a dull twilight preceded the 
approaching darkness, suddenly a glimmer of light 
arrested his attention, it proceeded from the old 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 199 

abbey, he was surprised if not startled for the 
moment, when it occurred to his mind that old Kit 
Murrought was the author of it, and that he had 
forgotten that there was one other living being 
beside himself in that lonely place. But few if any 
would now care to be in the vicinity of the place. 

His whole soul and mind were absorbed by the 
scene, and he stood motionless dwelling upon it. 

! the moon is gone down in the west, 
And her last silver ray is withdrawn 

From the top of the dark mountains' crest, 
And the shadow is gone from the lawn ; 

Yea the church-yard looks awfully weird, 
And the tomb-stones rise silent and dark, 

If the ghosts of the dead e'er appeared, 
I would look for the phosphorent spark. 

See the old abbey wall looks so black, 

In its dark ivy robe being clad, 
And the old elm trees at its back 

They are bowing their heads as if sad ; 

O ! the feelings that steal through my heart, 

As I linger to gaze on the scene, 
Neither pencil nor tongue can impart, 

And a longing for something is keen. 

Yea the body entrammels the soul 
And I crave for to see the unseen, 

Or some spirit to me would unroll 

Whst'a to come and some things that have b?2^. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

! could I but soar off and away, 
To those empyrean realms beyond, 

What an essence would then be this clay, 
By a touch of God's magical wand ; 

Through the dark stony door of yon tomb, 
I must pass ere that knowledge I find, 

And unconscious must lie in earth's womb, 
Until heaven and earth are combined. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 201 


^fr^HE time for the departure of Henry D'Arcy 
tM^ and Claymore has almost come ; Mary D'Ar- 
^^^cy's heart has an additional sorrow weighing 
upon it in consequence. As she, one day, took a 
stroll to visit some of the poor and sick, Claymore 
accompanied her, and as a consolation assured her 
he would see her again soon, as he intended exchang- 
ing into some of the regiments stationed in Ireland. 

He was to leave next day, and as they walked 
along, b3th were silent for a time, Mary D'Arcy 
broke the silenc 1 by remarking, " How short the 
time seemed since her brother and he arrived, yet 
how fraught with importance was the change which 

that short time has brought about." 

As they neared the hall a lover's farewell was 

exchanged with mutual feelings of reciprocated love. 
We need not dwell upou the feelings which 

pervaded each heart of that household ; it can better 

be imagined than described. The past, present and 

future shot arrows athwart the heart. 

The night is gone, a id the day has arrived, and 

the hour for the departure of the two young men. 

202 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 

As Henry kissed his mother and sisters, his manly 
heart was bursting with sorrow for the loneliness 
he knew they would experience when he was gone, 
and he knew his brother could not remain very long 
after him. 

As the carriage left, a last adieu was waived, and 
the visit of those two young officers was ended, and 
what a contrast to its commencement, so at least 
thought Claymore. 

Letters announcing their safe arrival in London, 
and also containing words of consolation,were received 
soon after at Gurteen. 

Claymore immediately set to work to bring to 
bear all his available influence at the Horseguards 
for an exchange, in which he was signally successful ; 
and scarcely three months had elapsed when he 
was gazetted as Lieutenant to a regiment then 
stationed at Athlone. 

This intelligence was received with pleasure at 
Gurteen, with secret delight and thankfulness by 
Mary D'Arcy. 

William D'Arcy had returned long since to head- 
quarters, having appointed an agent to manage the 
estate ; this was a matter of importance to the 
tenants, regretted by all, and deplored, notwith- 
standing that they had no reason to apprehend 

Scenes and Inciden is in Irish Life, 


anything but kindness raid most considerate treat- 
me nt. 

They had not been accustomed to any one 
standing between them and their landlord, and now 
they were notified that tho rents would be received 
at he office of the agent, and not at Gurteen, as 
was the custom in days past when all w 7 ere 
entertained right royally as has teen already 

The winter has gone by and April showers and 
sunshine are combining to enliven and beautify the 
landscape, all nature seems instinct with life. 

The birds are singing merrily, and mating, andthe 
voice of the cuckcoo is listened for with great desire 
and delioht. 


The hearts of all seem to feel that the last dark 
cloud of winter has rolled by, and its gloom and 
desolation dispelled by the voice and smile of spring. 

One day a carriage drove up to Thirteen, in it was 
Claymore, whose company being now stationed at 
Banagher, he was enabled to drive to see them. 
This was a source of much pleasure to all, but he 
found Mrs. D'Arcy quite broken down and looking 
worn and feeble. He remained at Gurteen for a 
couple of days, when he returned to his company. 
Thus was he enabled to visit Gurteen from time to 

204 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

Claymore enjoyed himself fairly as much as an 
ardent lover can ba expected to do when absent 
from the object of his affections. 

Within about three miles of Banagher, on the 
banks of the river Brusna, stood a grand old castle 
called Garreen castle, the residence of a major 
O'Moore, a fine specimen of an Irish gentleman, 
somewhat like the late Mr. D'Arcy, only more 
blunt and more blustering. He kept open house 
and entertained to excess, was never without visitors, 
a person of about fifty, portly and fond of hunting, 
always possessing a number of splendid horses for 
saddle or harness, a keen sporstman, whether in the 
hunting field or with dog and gun. His wife was 
a most amiable and agreeable person about ten 
years the major's junior. They had a family of two 
sons, aged eighteen and twenty years respectively ; 
many a day and night did Claymore spend at 
Garreen castle, to fcher with some brother officers. 

A long avenue of a mile between the first and 
second gate led to the castle ; great beech, chestnut 
and ash trees lined the avenue and dotte the 
demesne with its tufts of daffodills and other flowers 
scattered here and there. After passing through the 
second gate and sweeping round a curve you came in 
front of the castle, whose turretted walls towered 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 205 

above, and seemed to nestle amongst the grand old 
trees thickly surrounding it. The lawn in front 
was profusely covered with flowers, the whole scene 
and surroundings was that of sequestered peaceful- 
ness, too much so for the major and his wife, but 
that was remedied by the unceasing flow of visitors, 
and oft recurring dinner and other parties, at al- 
most all of which Claymore was present, when he 
was not at Gurteen, where he was as often as 
circumstances would admit. Thus the summer 
rolled by and twelve months have elapsed since the 
squire of Gurteen was laid in the tomb. Mrs. 
D'Arcy and her two daughters are ^ one to London, 
and Gurteen house is shut up and iQiiely looking, a 
couple of servants only are in charge ; William 
D'Arcy insisted upon his mother and sisters having 
a change of air and scenes. 

A ball is given by Lady Benediction to which 
William and Henry D'Arcy as also the ladies are 

The scene is a grand and gay, one and at which 
the elite of London society are present. 

Henry Claymore is present and having danced 
with Mary D'Arcy left the crowded ball-room where 
they could converse alone and uninterrupted, when 
Mary D'Arcy in reply to a question put by Clay- 

206 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

more respecting their pledged love and union, 
unfolded to her lover with much emotion and 
nervousness that she feared opposition or interference 
on the part of her elder brother, but assured him 
she would brave all for his sake. 

Lady Benediction being an intimate friend of 
Claymore's, he consulted her and unfolded to her 
his passion for Mary D'Arcy, so she advised an 
honorable unfolding of the matter to Mrs. D'Arcy, 
asking her consent and blessing, which was done, 
and the result was favorable as could be desired ; 
but when Mrs. D'Arcy unfolded the matter to 
William D'Arcy, he most strenuously opposed it, 
as Claymore had but little more than his pay as 
lieutenant, whilst on the other hand, his sister had a 
considerable fortune. With all this Lady Benediction 
was made acquainted by Claymore. The week 
following there was another ball to which the D'Arcy s 
and Claymore were invited. The latter was treated 
with coldness by William D'Arcy, not so by any of 
the rest of the family. 

There was present at the ball a Miss Fitzgerald 
of Ferndell, county Wicklow, and her brother, 
descended from a noble family, but great and devoted 
patriots, Eoman Catholics ; she was a most pious 
modest and charming girl, a strong friendship existed 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life 


between themselves and the D'Arcy family. To 
Miss Constance Fitzgerald, Mary B'Arcy went and 
confided her little secret, with a request that she 
would aid and accompany her in eloping with 
Claymore ; that they were going to leave the ball-room 
as the clock struck one, and were proceeding to 
Lady Benediction's until arrangements were made, 
and her elder brother s consent obtained. Into this 
little plan Constance Fitzgerald entered with true 
Irish spirit and sympathy. 

As the clock struck one the two ladies were 
standing in an ante-room closely wrapped up so as 
not to be recognized by any who should meet them ; 
suddenly Claymore entered, his face was flushed, 
Mary DMrcy's heart was beating hard, so was 

He offered to each of the ladies an arm and 
descended to a side door to avoid encountering any 
person ; a carriage was waiting, the ladies entered 
Claymore following, the door of the carriage was 
closed by a friend and away the carriage dashed. 

Gerald Fitzgerald having seen the lovers off, — 
for it was he closed the carriage door, — returned to 
the ball-room and remained near Mrs. D'Arcy and 
her daughter Lucy, so as to afford information at 
the proper time and save any unnecessary worry 

208 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

or excitement to those ladies, so soon as Mary 
D'Arcy would be enquired for. It was some time 
however, before Mrs. D'Arcy said to Lucy, " that 
she* wondered where Mary was," Lucy replied "that 
she saw her last dancing with young Fitzgerald." 
Seeing him standing quite near, looking dreamily at 
the dancers as they glided to and fro, Lucy approached 
him and asked " if he had seen her sister within the 
last few moments," " yes " he replied " I saw her 
in company with my sister and Mr. Claymore in the 
drawing-room. I think Lady Benediction knows 
where they are/' and he gave a knowing glance at 
Lucy as he emphasized the last word. Lucy turned 
pale, as she conjectured his meaning, and returned 
to her mother, saying that " Mr. Fitzgerald said he 
thought Lady Benediction was with Mary last. 

The latter lady was just then passing, leaning 
upon the arm of a gentleman, when Mrs. D'Arcy 
enquired for Mary ; Lady Benediction said " come to 
the drawing-room for a few moments." Suiting the 
action to the word, she touched young Fitzgerald 
playfully with her fan and said, " your gallant 
services sir are required to take Mrs. D'Arcy to the 
drawing-room," which was delicately and most 
politely performed. 

Here her ladyship informed Mrs. D'Arcy that 

Scenes and Incidents In Irish Life. 209 

love and elopement was what she had to commu- 
nicate, and that the lovers would more than 
likely be found at her residence, which was always 
open to the honorable refugee, and more especially, 
her particular friends and proteges, therefore she 
advised resignation, loving acquiescence and consent, 
on the part of Mrs. P'Arcy. Of all this the latter 
assured her after she had recovered from her 
surprise. It was from her eldest son, the captain, 
the opposition mainly proceeded. The next step 
was to break the news to him and reconcile him to 
what was inevitable. 

To him a message was despatched, requesting 
him to come to the drawing-room, where her lady- 
ship and Mrs. D'Arcy awaited his coming. 

He arrived after a few moments. When informed 
of the occurrence, he seemed thunderstruck, but 
overcoming his feelings he replied, " let her take 
the consequence." A little later a happy group 
were assembled in Lady Benediction's drawing-room ; 
composed of her Ladyship and her daughter, Lady 
Constance, a beautiful girl of about twenty. Sir 
Edward Newham, Mrs. D'Arcy^ Henry and Lucy, 
Fitzgerald and his sister, the two lovers and a 

The ceremony was soon over, and Henry Claymore 

210 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

and Mary Eleanor D'Arcy were made one, u for 
better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, till death 
us do part.'' 

Next morning they were on their way to 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 



The curtain draw, ! Time 

From o'er thy portals dark. 
Say what does Heaven assign 

Yon white-sailed lover's bark. 
Its silken ropes and sails, 

"White as the driven snow. 
Vibrate to life's soft gales, 

Like music sweet and low 
Which steals upon the heart, 

And ravishes the soul. 
Begotten not of art, — 

Her destiny unroll. 
"What ruthless wave or rock 

Will rage, or hidden lie, 
Love's peaceful course to shock ? 

! let me but discry. 
What ruthless pirate's craft, 

With sails and rigging black, 
With poisoned arrow shaft, 

Will hang upon its track 1 
A face looks o'er the prow 

It is the hopeful bride, 
With lilies on her brow, 

Reflected in the tide. 

212 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

The bridegroom holds the helm, 
Nor heeds yon lowering clond 

Tho' bright his rule and realm, 
His bark 'twill soon enshroud. 

Claymore with his bride is quartered at Banagher, 
many are the visitors who call 5 among them Major 
O'Moore and Mrs. 'Moore. Some adventures 
were enjoyed now and again. Amongst them we 
will mention the following. The major commu- 
nicated to Claymore the fact, that he had reliable 
information that a meeting of rebels would take 
place at a little lonely cabin, remote from the 
highway or any other residence. It was a deserted 
cabin and stood upon a desolate moor surrounded 
by a few willow-trees and furze. The country 
people all shunned the place by day or night, as it 
was said to be haunted by the ghost of an unfor- 
tunate man who was murdered a short time before 
in the vicinity. 

However, the night that the descent was to be 
made upon the cabin for the purpose of capturing 
those who were to assemble there arrived ; Claymore 
told off a noncommissioned officer and four men for 
duty. They were to march to Garreen Castle after 
dark, whither Claymore preceded them with his wife. 
The night was dark as Erebus, accompanied by fitful 
gusts of wind, with some drops of rain. 

Scenes and Incidents in Lish Life. 


When the non-commissioned officer and his men 
arrived, they were ordered into the kitchen, where 
they were regaled, primed and prepared for the 
adventure. They were not to move until a late 

A huge fire roared up the chimney of the old 
kitchen ; the picture was in striking contrast to the 
scene without. 

Care was taken that the men should not receive 
more whiskey than was good for them, or it might 
incapacitate them for what lay before them. The 
major was to accompany them, as also his two sons, 
for the sake of the adventure ; the elder one acting 
as guide. The cabin lay about two miles off, and 
not far from the banks of the Kiver fjrusna. 

As the clock struck ten, the party prepared to 
move. Claymore, the major and his two sons each 
had stuck in his belt a brace of heavy pistols, and 
carried a stout stick ; the soldier? their mus- 
kets and side arms. The company moved off in 
single file, led by young 'Moore. 

After about half an hour's march, they entered a 
piece of wood, through which they moved slowly, 
cautiously and silently. Before emerging therefrom 
a halt was made. Young 'Moore, the major 
and Claymore mwed forward to reconnoitre, 

2 14 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

and arrange for the final movement. As they 
stood on the edge of the patch of wood and looked 
out or endeavored to look across the dreary 
moor, not an object could be discerned fifty 
yards ahead, and the wind howled in fitful 
gusts through the trees. The whole surrounding 
was that of dreary desolation. Young O'Moore 
explained the position of, and the easiest route to 
reach the cabin unheard or unseen. It was resolved 
that the little party should deploy to the right and 
left, and close in around the cabin, but to halt 
within sight of it ? all moving cautiously, stooping 
and creeping. At a given signal a rush was to be 
made simultaneously. The Major, Claymore and 
the Sargeant for the door, which they were to carry 
before them if possible, when two of the men were 
to come to their assistance, leaving the other two 
men and the young O'Moore to guard the outside. 
All this arranged, the Sargeant and men were 
brought up and informed of the plans agreed upon. 

Silent as spectres the little party moved forward 
carefully feeling the way. The gusts of wind which 
sw r ept across the moor drowned every noise, if any 
were made. Occasionally a plover swooped by 
with a shrill cry of alarm, which startled one. Such 
a cry was soon heard, low but natural as if the bird 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 215 

was at rest. This was repeated the second time. 
Every man prepared himself, *ready for the third 
call. How excited one becomes upon such an occa- 
sion. The heart throbs violently, and the pulse 
beats rapidly. 

Soon the third would be given, there in front of 
them stood the little cabin, barely distinguishable 
through the darkness. Not a sound could be heard 
to proceed from it. All was still as death, and dark 
as the tomb. Claymore was doubtful whether their 
adventure was not a wild goose chase after all. He 
turned toward the major, who, while he had the 
most implicit confidence in the information he had 
received, was also beginning to experience a similar 
feeling, when the third signal was given, then 
there was a slow movement forward by all for a 
moment, so as to come near as possible. When 
suddenly the major, Claymore and the Sargeant 
rose to their feet, made a forward rush, Claymore 
striking the door first, the other two pressing upon 
him. Before their united force the door was car- 
ried : the surprise was as terrible as sudden. The 
scene was one never to be forgotten by eithe r 

Around a table set in the centre of the room, sat 
a number of men feasting. All wore certain 


216 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 

badges or sashes. One who appeared to be the cap- 
tain or leader, wore* a green sash across his breast 
he was in the act of picking the leg of a roast goose, 
when Claymore levelled his pistol at his head, at 
the same time thundering out an oath, that if he 
took that bone from his mouth, he would blow his 
brains out. In this ludicrous position sat this un- 
fortunate fellow. All were so taken by surprise 
that they had not time to move hand or foot, until 
they were hand-cuffed and secured. 

The feast was not half finished : the bottles of 
potheen scarcely half emptied tood on the table. 
So that roast goose, fried bacon and eggs, &c, &c, 
with the blessed drink had to be abandoned. And 
the whole party were soon marching on the way 
back to the castle. 

In one fell swoop the hopes and projects of those 
unfortunate patriots were overturned, and their own 
freedom if not their lives, as good as- gone from 
them, and all through the treachery of some base 
miscreant of an informer. 

These unfortunate fellows were tried at the 
following assizes, and transported to Van Diemen's 
land for various terms. 

B hanging ai d transportation the sons of poor 
unhappy Ireland know England best. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 217 

Claymore was, after a little time, removed to Por- 
tumna, a little town, mean and dirty looking, on 
the banks of the Shannon at the head of Lough 
Derg, on the county Galway side. 

Gurteen was once more the scene of gay parties 
and gatherings, upon William D'Arcy's entrance 
into it as heir to this fine old estate ; great bon- 
fires blazed up in various quarters, around which 
dancing and drinking and shouting: were indulged 


in by the tenantry and neighbors generally ; for all 
the drinking the heir paid as well as the pipers for 
their expended wind. 

The heir of Gurteen with his mother and sister 
visited the bonfire which was near to Gurteen 
Lodge, and danced with some of the people, being 
warmly cheered, and all sorts of kind wishes ex- 
pressed for the young master, the old mistress and 
Miss Lucy, and many wished poor Miss Mary was 

William D'Arcy was a good fellow, as the world 
uses the term. He was most extravagant, and did 
not seem to know or think there was a limit to his 
money or means, and after this fashion he lived. 
He borrowed from or rather encroached upon the 
fortunes of his two sisters to keep up his extrava- 
gant style oi life ; as ) ears rolled by his golden sand 

218 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Lift, 

ran out, and he was at length unable to* pay his 
sisters ? fortunes without raising the money on the 
estate, and heavily involving himself. 

Otherwise all things look bright at Gurteen 
Lodge. Whatever worry and trouble William 
D'Arcy may experience he hides it and looks as 
gay and dashing as ever. 

Claymore and his wife visit Sir Edward New- 
ham of Fernmount, where a true Irish welcome 
always awaits them both. They have got a eouple of 
sons, Francis William and Henry Frederick to 
bless their lives. One day however as they uncere- 
moniously paid a visit after an absence of some 
weeks, they were surprised to find that instead of 
alighting at the hall door they were admitted 
cautiously into a court-yard through a small door 
in the high wall which surrounded this court- 
yard, the door being carefully locked and bolted 
after them. In like manner did they enter the 
old mansion. Both Claymore and his wife felt 
surprised, but betrayed no signs of surprise ; as they 
entered, however, they were met by Sir Edward 
and his wife who welcomed their visitors most 
warmly, Sir Edward saying in an outspoken way : 
" Captain if an Englishman's house is his castle, it is 
quite fair an Irishman's should be the same to 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 219 

him. Let me assure you and Mrs. Clay ra ore we 
keep open house and hearts as ever, only the way of 
access is a little more difficult ; we are like a ship 
in a storm with the seas running high, the hatches 
have to be battenned down so as to prevent ship- 
ping unwelcome visitors. I have a little trouble 
with a few creditors, who captured me a few days 
ago and took me to Bonis — O'Kane — and while the 
rascally bailiffs were rejoicing in securing their bird 
some of my friends who came in to see me passed 
me out in disguise. They had Toby waiting for 
me near by, I mounted him and dashed off for 
home ; I had not left five minutes when the rascals 
missed me and dashed after me. It was a splendid 
run as ever you saw, captain. They had each 
secured a horse, and kept in sight of me the whole 
way, the country cheering. After I would pass, the 
boys would place bars across the road which the 
bailiffs had to jump. They were close to me, the 
devils ; when I came to the avenue gate it was 
shut, an awful jump, I turned Toby towards it, 
and he cleared it like a bird. Upon my honor I 
think the old boy knew what was depending upon 
him ; when the bailiffs came to it, one fellow had to 
dismount to let the other through, and I baffled 
them, for you know they dare not force bar or bolt, 

220 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

nor capture me before sun rise or after sun set. So 
that explains all. Mr. Claymore I am so delighted to 
see you ? we were feeling so lonely ; as we cannot 
have all the company we could wish, we are bound 
to see all we can, more"especially our particular ones, 
such as yourselves. Have you heard the news 
from England, concerning our mutual friends Lady 
Benediction and her daughter and Count Con- 
tumello, an awful scandal ? " 

" What is it ?" said Claymore ; and Mary looked 
enquiringly at Sir Edward and then at Lady 

" Well, it appears Lord Benediction willed certain 
property to Lady Constance should she marry Count 
Contumello, to whom he was greatly attached for 
some time before his death ; no one seems to be able 
to fathom this strange arrangement, so one day last 
week, the Count, a friend of his, the two ladies and a 
particular lady friend of the Lady Constance drove 
up to the little church of Woodbine Bectory. The 
Count and the Lady Constance were married, where- 
upon he escorted her to her carriage, and in the 
most polite manner raised his hat, bowed, and off she 
drove plus a name and title, minus a husband ; for 
the count stepped into the carriage with Lady Bene- 
diction and drove off with her and they are gone to 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 221 

the continent, and Lady Constance inherits and 
inhabits alone. Is not that a queer episode in a life. 
" That's the way with those English/' continued Sir 
Edward, as he looked with a twinkle at Claymore, 
" I am not English," said Claymore, " my better 
half is Irish, and the worst, half has sworn to be the 
same in life and death." : *' Dear me," said Sir Edward. 
Ci what a power the ladies are." 

Mary Claymore's eldest boy was now nearly three 
years old, the other was over twelve months. After 
a sumptuous and unceremonious lunch, Claymore and 
his wife prepared to take their departure. Before 
the door in the wall was opened a careful survey of 
the outside was made from upstairs, so as to prevent 
any linker gaining entrance unbidden or unawares, 
when the horses were led out and the visitors 
mounted and departed. Fernmount was one of 
those old mansions with high gables and chimneys, 
whose tops peeped above the old trees which 
surrounded it, and lined the avenue leading to the 
road, at the back the land sloped off to the banks of 
the Shannon ; the master of the mansion was like 
too many of his class, who alas are almost become 
things of the past. Open-hearted and honorable, 
off-handed and confiding, far from suspicious, above 
small matters, they were soon involved by tradesmen 

222 • Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

and tricksters and fleeced after a struggle, generally 
prolonged, of all that they had or that was possible 
to take ; sometimes the unfortunate debtor was 
thrown into prison and kept there until death released 
him by paying his debts. This was a most bar- 
barous law, inhuman as it was unchristian and 

In this case Sir Edward walked to church and 
around "the estate generally on Sundays ; on the rest 
of the week he could only do so before or after 
sunrise, at such a time you were safe from arrest 
for debt which must have been a great boon to the 
poor hunted debtor and most tantalising to the 
relentless Shylocks who hungered for him. 

The day following this visit to Fernmount, Clay- 
more received orders to march to the city of Gal way 
at once. The day was one of those wet miserable 
days which are so frequently experienced in Ireland. 

His wife and two sons drove over to Gurteen 
Lodge, to remain until he had quarters prepared for 
them at Galway ; he had made up his mind to sell 
out at once and leave the army, and had taken the 
preliminary steps before he started for the city of 

" Man proposes but God disposes," is an unchang- 
ing truth ; Claymore had caught a severe cold on the 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 223 

march, wet clothes- and feet, which brought on a 
fever, so his poor wife was hastily summoned to his 
bedside. He rallied only for a short time after her 
arrival, when he sank rapidly, his last words were, 
" God help my poor wife and children," and poor 
Claymore passed away in the prime of life, leaving 
a young widow and tw T o young boys to mourn his 
loss, and struggle with a cold selfish world. With 
broken heart did Mary Claymore hang over the face 
of her beloved, as she awaited the coming of her 
brother and dear mother from Gurteen, to arrange for 
the last sad rites over her beloved husband, the 
object of her heart's first and only love. 

As she sat her face suffused with tears, her heart 
a dreary bleak desolation ; her mind travelled over 
the too short sunshine of her life. Their courtship 
and wedded life which only appeared as of yester- 
day, was now blasted for ever ; was this the end of 
their happy beginning and brief but heavenly union ? 

Her mother and brother were soon with her ; as 
she threw herself into the arms of her loving mother, 
she said, " mother dear, you know what a widow's 
sorrow is, what mine is," and she wept bitterly. 

Arrangement was made to convey the body of 
poor Claymore to England to the family burying- 
ground there. The sorrowing young widow and her 
brother accompanying the remains, 

224 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

While in England the Countess Conturnelio called 
to visit her and mingled her tears with hers ; as 
also some of Claymore's nearest relations, father or 
mother, sister or brother, he had none living. 

The last sad duty being rendered to the dead, 
Mary Claymore returned with her brother to 
Gurteen, where she was the object of the most heart- 
felt sympathy of all around, crushed and heart- 
broken she visited the poor as in days gone by, and 
experienced comfort and consolation as she endea- 
vored to convey such to the hearts and homes of 
others. One thing caused her much sorrow, she 
found that many of the people who possessed their 
own little farms and homes a few years before, 
particularly on neighboring estates, were now home- 
less and begging their bread, or working odd days 
for three or four pence per day, just sufficient to 
stave off starvation and avoid the humiliation of 

In most cases those poor people's little holdings 
were joined together to make a larger one for some 
Scotch or English immigrant who was induced to 
come over and oust the poor hardworking son of 
the soil, more necessary to the welfare and well-being 
* of the crown and country than the landlords. 

It is with much satisfaction and unfeigned delight 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 225 

that I can add that those very immigrants became 
more troublesome and defiant to the landlords than 
their more humble and patient predecessors, while 
in some cases the land was rented to the stranger 
for less : in other cases at a considerable advance. 
In either and both cases the landlords and the land 
were cursed. The latter to be made pay was 
skinned and burned, — not but that the same might 
have been done to the former too, and with better 
result to the country ; the la,nd thus treated was 
worthless and then thrown upon the landlord's hands 
who in turn cursed and abused his foreigner tenant, 
who sent him in plain English to a hot place, and 
went himself elsewhere, procrastinating the honor of 
accompanying his lordship, for spite or otherwise. 


Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 



||||pN important event was expected to come off 
Sllll in a few days at Gurteen Lodge. While in 
London^ a barrister of some note had been introduced 
to Lucy, and paid her considerable attention, proposed 
for her, was accepted, and all preliminaries were 
arranged, so that he was daily expected at Gurteen 
where the marriage was to be quietly performed. 

In her wanderings, Mary Claymore with a little 
basket of good things on her arm started for the old 
abbey to pay a visit to her old friend Kit Murrought, 
whom she found very feeble and much bent. The old 
woman did not recognise her for some time, and 
then remembered and spoke to her as Miss Mary. 

Mary Claymore could not help crying as she 
called to mind poor Claymore's visit to the old 
woman a few years before, and how often he spoke 
of her strange prediction, which was only too faith- 
fully fulfilled ; what a change had taken place in so 
short a time in surrounding things, except the 
resting places of the dead and their dull tenants, 
and this poor lonely old tenant of the abbey, who 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 227 

ere long would be found to have penetrated those 
dark portals of the dead, outside of which she had 
lingered so long, and which had continued firmly 
closed against her, while solemnly and freely 
opening to receive others who would gladly have 
evaded the fearful alternative. 

Mary Claymore was about to leave when the poor 
old hermit laid her hand upon her arm, and looking 
up into her face with scrutinizing and pleading looks 
mutely pleaded for her to remain for a little longer. 
" I may never see you again acushla," said the poor 
old creature with faltering voice. " yes, granny/' 
said Mary, 16 I will come to see you often, I will not 
forget you." 

" Miss Mary asthore. you may come to see 
your old Kit, but she may not see you ; these eyes 
are growing dim and dark, but the Lord will bless 
you, and the holy angels will make your bed here- 
after, for you were always the friend of the poor 
and misforthenate, God love you," as she said this 
she laid her hand on Mary Claymore's and wept 
and prayed. Mary endeavored to comfort the poor 
creature, " allannah it does not matter about me 
after all, sure you Miss Mary, young and lovely 
and good, have had your throubles, and God knows 
enough without been bothered with a poor ould 

228 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

crayther loike me, but sure Father Luke tould me 
to tell you Miss Mary, for the Lord knows you are 
the friend of the poor, forlorn and deshtitute loike all 
your family, and your darlint father, God rest his 
sowl, Amin, and poor Mr. Claymoor, 

" Well, granny/' said Mary, " what is your trouble 
and your secret, and I will do anything I can to help 
you, you may be sure." 

The old woman was silent for a while, and trembled 
violently, then whispered, " a dhrop of wather Allan- 
nah," and suddenly fell back upon her bed of straw, 
helpless and unconscious ; Mary Claymore was much 
frightened,but seizing the little pitcher of water near 
by, threw some over the face of the old woman and 
applying her smelling salts to Kit's nose soon restored 
her to consciousness ; when she opened her eyes she 
looked around as if expecting to see some one else, 
and then said : " how did I come here asthore ? where 
is he ? did I fall down them old steps into that 
tomb ? Before my time, before my time, whispered 
the old woman, as if to herself." 

u I will soon be there Miss Mary " she added, and 
looking more collected, but anxious she continued " I 
have not told you all yet, no/' 

" Miss Mary" said the old woman, rather in a start- 
led, or pleading tone : "I'm in great throuble intirely 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 229 

and dishthress, and you are the only sowl, next to 
father Luke, I can cum to, Oh ! what will I do at 
all, at all V 

The old woman had evidently some great secret 
troubling her, which she was afraid to confide 
to any other than father Luke and Mary Claymore. 
The latter by her tenderness and devotion to the 
poor and peasantry in general, had won the confi- 
dence and affectionate respect of all in return, more- 
over the people and peasantry had the most unbound- 
ed confidence in the honor of such as the D'Arcy 
family, whose word was considered equal to an oath 
if once given ; not at all an uncommon nor by any 
means an exceptional feature or trait in the one class 
or feeling in the other ; but I must say with all 
sorrow, that I feel such mutual feelings are fast 
fading away. 

"Kitty/' said Mary Claymore, "tell me what 
troubles you, and you need not fear any one will 
know ; and I will do all I can for you. 5 ' 

"You will? Miss Mary, may the Blessed and 
Holy Mary, Mother of Jesus, guard you and yours, 
Amin. Sure I will die aisy now/' 

"You wont be afeered darlint"? said the old woman 
alluding to something that was passing in her mind ; 
as if she had communicated it to Mary Claymore. 

230 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

"Afraid of what Kitty ? what should I be afraid of 
in helping yon ?" said Mary. 

"Oh ! sure an you need'nt acushla machree, no- 
thing would harm you." 

The old woman tottered towards the door grating 
of her abode, and locked it from the inside. At the * 
same time peering out into the church yard, to see if 
there was any person within sight, or in the vicinity ; 
when she turned to Mary Claymore- and beckoned 
to her to follow her into a distant and dark recess of 
the dreary appartment. Mary Claymore felt a 
slight sensation of curiosity, mingled with something 
of awe, shoot through her mind. Yet she unhesita- - 
tingly followed the old woman, who having crept 
into the recess alluded to, knocked on a flag at her 
feet, with the old key she held in her hand. Suddenly 
the stone moved as if some body or power from be- 
neath was moving it, when lo ! a dark square hole ap- 
peared, and Mary Claymore thought she preceived 
a very dim glimmer of light, nor was she certain 
that it was not an illusion or fancy. 

The old woman began to descend and whispered 
to Mary Claymore to follow with care and not to be 

Mary did not now feel afraid in the least j she had 
too much confidence in the old woman, springing from 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 231 

long acquaintance and friendship, and conscious of 
her own heart's motives and, shall we add, disinterest- 
ed goodness and geninue simple minded love and care 
for such as poor Kit Murrought. But she was lost 
in wonder at what was transpiring before her eyes, 
and as to what was to be the nature of the mystery 
beneath the old Abbey walls. She crept along care- 
fully, found a stone step and another and another, 
until she found herself in a large vault,containing two 
or three great square tombs, standing a little from 
each other but in a row. 

On one of these tombs stood a miserable candle or 
dip, as such are called. It looked more like an old 
stone altar than a tomb, as an old rude crucifix 
of dark wood stood on top of it, both in close prox- 
imity to the wall. Around the front of this tomb 
an altar, for evidently it served as both, was a picee 
of faded colored muslin or cotton with a rude device 
on the front of it. 

To approach near it you went up two short steps. 
This gloomy appartment reminded one of the old 
Catacombs of Eome, in which the poor persecuted 
Christians sought refuge, retirement and rest, from 
their cruel and powerful foes. Eefuge, when hunted 
and sought for ; retirement, when the dark and silent 
pall of night had enveloped the Jtand and they 

232 Semes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

bowed before the old stone Altar, beside which stood 
their faithful priest, and surrounded by the ashes of 
the faithful saintly dead, swore eternal devotion and 
unwavering love to Christ and His Church, come 
what might, fire, sword or wild beast, and lastly they 
found rest in the silent niches, prepared for them, in 
the walls of those friendly subterranean labyrinths, 
by loving hands, after the sorrows and struggles of 
life were ended. Having triumphed over death and 
the grave, they slept near to the sacred altar, within 
sound of the voice of praise and prayer, silent moni- 
tors and incentives to their assembled brethren to 
persevere in the noble and holy cause. 

Eeligion forms a powerful bond, when reverence 
and veneration promoted by wisdom, possess the 
heart and mind. 

Mary Claymore was astonished beyond measure, 
at this strange and gloomy picture ; a feeling of 
profound awe crept over her mind. 

For some time she could not realize the extent of 
the place, or what it contained. 

The dim light of the tallow candle only added to 
the gloominess of the surroundings, and gave outlines 
and appearances of every concievable description 
according to the imagination of the individual 

One thing arrested Mary Claymore's attention 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 233 

at which she could not help expressing astonish- 
ment in a hushed tone of voice ; at the same time 
pointing towards it with her hand. It was a live 
owl sitting upon a limb of a portion of an old 
decayed branch of a tree, and blinking at her with 
that grave unconcerned look that would almost 
convince one of the truth of the doctrine of trans- 
migration of souls. 

It did not attempt to stir, nor show any alarm at 
the intrusion, but on the contrary looked quite 
familiar. A movement of something arrested her 
attention not far from where the owl sat, and which 
almost wrung .a suppressed cry of alarm from her. 
It was the form of a man leaning against the wall 
his features were sad- and sickly looking, he did not 

The old woman came near to Mary Claymore and 

whispered " do not be afraid acushla, there's no thin 

here to harm a hair av yer head. Only thim who 

would give their life's blood to defind and protect ye. 

Its not much the poor boy beyant is able to do av 

he was willin itself, I'm only afeard its not long 

poor Connell will throuble any av us." " Connell P' 

exclaimed Mary in surprise, " yes allannah, Connell 

sure enough." At this Connell respectfully lifted 

his hand to his forehead to salute Mary, as he 


234 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 

remarked in feeble tones, " It is myself, Mrs. 
Claymore, hunted like a wild beast, and wounded I 
I am dying in my lair ? my only pastime and 
companion that bird of night," and he looked 
towards the owl, " my nurse, and one as a mother to 
me, is poor Kitty Murrought, Mrs. Claymore, may 
the Lord reward her for it hereafter." 

" I have not long to live Mrs. Claymore, I am 
dying of consumption, and I am helpless ; look at 
that," and as he said this he lifted his left arm, 
which he could not stretch out from him. 

The story in brief respecting poor Connell is 
simply this. — His father Jim Connell was a tenant 
of Bareham's, his mother was a hardworking, 
honest woman. 

William, or as he was generally called. Bill, 
was their only child living. He always showed 
a great aptitude for acquiring knowledge. So as 
a boy he took it into his head to play poor scholar, 
and wandered away from home, to get learning free 
with working a little now and again for a farmer 
where he would stop. 

The Irish have always had a great respect for that 
class of persons, and never refused them bed and 
board, and the schoolmaster always had the same 
consideration for them. 

Sce7ies and Incidents in Irish Life. 235 

Indeed, it was always a struggle between the 
boys who should have the honor and pleasure of 
taking him home for a night, where he was cor- 
dially and hospitably received, and as they gathered 
around him by the fireside at night, listened to all 
he said, as to an oracle, with profound respect; 
and he assisted the children of the house in prepar- 
ing their lessons for the next day. This class of 
persons were always selected by the priest to assist 
in serving mass. This also added to their impor- 
tance considerably. 

After a protracted tour of this sort William 
Connell returned, possessing a fair amount of 
knowledge, for one of his class. But certain of his 
neighbors disliked him for this, amongst them was 
an understrapper or driver of Bareham's. 

William Connell was courting a girl, the daughter 
of a tenant of the D'Arcy's, and who often helped at 
the lodge. At length old Connell was asked by the 
son to see if Bareham had any objection to his 
getting married. 

The father one day started to see the landlord, 
and, after waiting for half a day, he at length 
was summoned into the hall ; Bareham appeared 
with, great majesty, which quite overawed poor 
old Connell, " well Connaw/' said he, u whats yaw 

236 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

businaas V " May it plaze yer honner," said the poor 
man," my boy Billy was wantin' to git married." u No ? 
he shall not," hastily replied the autocrat, before the 
poor man could finish what he was about to add, 
and, he continued in the same tone, " if he doas youa 
shawl leave the place awt once." " No yer honner 
he washnt without yer honner's consint. That's 
what I kum to ax yer honner" "Who is the gawl 
he waants taw marry ? " added Bareham. " Nancy 
Bielly, yer honner I" said the old man, "her father 
is a tenant of Squire D'Arcy," u Haw, I waant none 
of thawt school awn moy estawt." 

The old man at once perceiving from the tone of 
this lord of the soil and souls, that it was useless 
to say more, bowed to his honor, and beat a retreat. 
The servants were not Irish, and therefore had no 
sympathy with Connell, but enjoyed his confusion. 

The poor old man returned home with a heavy 
heart, knowing how disappointed, if not enraged 
his son would be, at the despotic spirit of the Land- 
lord, and the threat uttered, that if the son married, 
they would be turned out of their little home on 
the hi^h-road. 

When old Connell arrived home and reported 
his reception and. repulse, William Connell's brow 
grew dark, and he said with much vehemence and 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 237 

bitterness, " By all the Saints above I'll marry 
if I like and who I like, and I care not a thraneen 
for him nor any av his loikes. If he gits his rint, 
which is his right,- 1 must be allowed to marry who 
and whin I loike, that is my roight, and let him dare 
to turn us out of the home you have lived in for 
nigh on fifty years." " Hush William a vie," said his 
mother, " what can the loikes of us do agin the loikes 
of him, who has all the milithery and majisthers 
to back him up, and its but shmall change weed 
git, and shure where would we turn to a vie ?" 
"Mother," said the young man, "are we slaves or 
dogs, that we must be thrated in this way ? It's only 
your consarn and my fathers and my own, if I 
want to get married, and I will, and let him do his 
w T orst, I am able to support ye two, and take care 
of ye that neither bit nor sup will you be behoulden 
to Bareham fur, or any other, av the Lord spares 

The next day William Connell saw the priest 
and arranged for his wedding, but when Eielly 
heard of the opposition and threat of Bareham he 
refused to let his daughter marry Connell under 
the circumstances ; this was adding fuel to the fire 
already kindled in the breast of Connell, and to 
make matters worse, Bareham having been informed 

238 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

of the determination of Coimell to act contrary to 
his express command, he sent for the old man and 
told him in the most insulting and peremptory 
manner, that his son should ]eave their home, and 
not to appear upon the estate again, and if he did 
not leave within two days, they must suffer the 
consequences. The poor old man endeavored to 
expostulate, and plead that he was their only child 
and help ; he was at once ordered to be silent, and 
leave. When poor old Connell left, he wended his 
way towards home with a heavy heart, he knew not 
what to do. His past training, present position 
and condition, left him incapable of summing up 
or solving the present problem, otherwise than 
this : — 

The great man has spoken and must be obeyed. 
He is a dispenser of the law, such as it is, or rather 
such as he wills ; a lord of the soil, I a serf. He 
both proposes and disposes. A man in short, of 
supreme power and superior position. I am no one, 
and of mean condition, what right have I to try 
and keep my boy with me, although the home 
where he was born is my home and my wife's. 
What right have I to expect to enjoy such a com- 
fort, if the big. man has spoken so go he must or go we 
must, out on the high-road to beg my bit and my poor 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 241 

old wife beside me. How can I bear the disgrace, 
we will wander far away from the dear old cabin, if 
the worst comes to the worst. But Oh ! how will 
the boy take it, what may not this drive him to do, 
some desperate act, and then — here the poor old man 
paused, the picture of his son in the felon's dock and 
cell loomed up before his eyes, and all its attendant 

He sank down upon the side of the road lost in 
thought, bewildered, crazed ; unconscious of all 
around, he continued to mutter to himself as he 
rocked to and fro. A heavy shower of rain came on, 
still there lie sat. How could he go home with 
such news to his poor old wife and son ? The sun went 
down, still there he sat, heedless of the surrounding 
darkness and mist that had succeeded the rain. At 
length a patrol came along and perceiving the old 
man took him along with them to the station, where 
he was kept until morning. In the meantime the 
son and old # Mary Connell, his mother, wondered 
at the absence of the old man, and the latter sug- 
gested that the son should go in search of the 
father ; he did but without success. As he was return- 
ing he fell in with a certain person named Hickey,well 
known to him, but living some three miles away. 

As they walked along, Connell unfolded to the 

242 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

other the reason he was out and his troubles about 
his marriage. " Are you," said Hickey, u satisfied and 
contint to take up wid such thratemint ? are we beg- 
gars, bastes or slaves when* we are willing and able 
to work and pay our rints, that we musht be 
thrated so ? You have got larnin' Billy ? and tell me 
why is it that we cannot live as we loike, marry 
who we loike, worship as we loike, and have an in- 
depindint voice in makin our own laws ? Didn't 
our forefathers always do it ? wernt' they all 
free min and great? Then how is it, I say, that we ? 
their children, are no better than slaves, and mane, 
and darnt turn about upon our own flure widout 
sayin', by yer lave. Bigor I'm towld there's a law 
agin cutten' ones hair or shavin, or av warin it only 
in a sartin way, or a fellow may be murthered 
intirely. So that the hair God gave us, isn't our own.'' 
Suddenly Hickey stopped and laid, his hand upon 
ConnelFs shoulders and said, " are you a thrue man 
to your counthry and your religion ?" " I am," said 
Connell. " Are you willin to defind and light fur them, 
and fur your roights as a man, or be loike a slave 
of the intherloper and furriner ?" he further added. il I 
am," said Connell, with nervous emphasis,— " Then 
give me your hand," said Hickey; it was given, and 
Hickey whispered "come wid me." 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 243 

No more was said, but on in silence strode Hickey 
until they came to the church yard at the old abbey 
where old Kit Murrought lived. He walked to- 
wards a large ash tree which grew near the abbey 
wall, a large branch of which extended to and 
mingled with the ivy of the old building. As they 
stood beside the tree, Connell saw Hickey catch 
a rope which hung from the branches. He whis- 
pered to Connell to follow him as he clambered up 
into the tree with the assistance of the rope, then 
out on the branch which led to the ivy; here he 
waited for Connell, who as previously instructed 
drew the rope after him, which was yet further 
required to do service, as it was again fastened to 
the end of the same branch, and Hickey creeping 
through the ivy which grew in a great compact pile, 
rising up in a gradual slope from six to twenty feet 
above where they were, Hickey again holding the 
rope began to disappear feet foremost down a slant- 
ing flue, just large enough for a man's body to 
descend through. He was closely followed by Con- 
nell. who was thinking within'himself, what was the 
meaning of all this, and in what it was going to end. 
He also thought how anxious his poor old mother 
would be, and moreover when he would return 
home in the morning without his father or a'^y ac- 

244 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

count of him, what would he say ? He half wished 
he had not met with Bickey. As he was thus think- 
ing, and sliding down this dark, narrow and myste- 
rious passage, he suddenly felt his legs dangle out 
into space of a more extensive nature than that of 
the passage. Immediately he felt hands take hold 
of him, and in a moment he was pinioned and blind- 
folded, and a voice whispered gruffly, " are you a true 
man"? Connell, half suffocating, replied, "yes, and no 
desait." " Do you hate the sassanagh and oppressor 
of your race and religion " ? again demanded the 
same voice, " I do," again replied Connell. 

A book was now held to his lips, and the same 
voice said, " kiss the holy mass book," Connell did so. 
" Do you swear by its holy contents that you will be 
faithful to all whose names and faces shall be made 
known to you, as companions in the holy struggle 
for our liberty and religion, and never desert nor 
betray them for any cause, and that if you do, you 
deserve death?" — Connell replied, " I swear by the 
holy mass book, which I have kissed, and all that 
is sacred, to do as you say, so help me G-od, amin." 
Immediately the bandage was removed from his 
eyes, and the rope from his arms, ariu. he siood free 
in body, but bound in mind and 30ul, having 
entered into a compact stnd society from which there 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 247 

was no retreating, except to leave himself open to 
suspicion on the part of those with whom he had 
embarked in this dangerous enterprise, and he 
would not for the world be thought a coward or a 
traitor. Around him stood a number of men, all 
familiar faces with one or two exceptions. 

On the tomb-altar stood a crucifix and the mass- 
book, which Connell had just kissed and sworn 

All spoke in an undertone ; at length one man, a 
stranger to Connell, came forward and stood in front 
of the tomb, on which he rested one hand holding a 
bottle, w r hile in the other he held the massbook 
alluded to, and elevated above their heads, a large 
flint lock horse pistol lay at his feet. As he turned 
towards the little assembly, every head of which 
was bared, he said, " do you all swear by this holy 
book to be true to every brother, and that you are 
willing to obey and carry out faithfully and fearlessly 
whatsoever the brotherhood demands in the sup- 
port and defence of our country, creed and liberty ?" 
when every voice responded, — " we swear to do or 
die/' then the same leader said, " God prosper the 
right and help the wake, amen," and all responded in 
the same words. 

The next thing 'was the bringing forward of Con- 

248 Scents and Incidents in Irish Life. 

nell and giving him signs, grips and passwords, 
whereby the brethern were to be recognised by day 
or night ; whereupon after a little desultory con- 
versation, all began to disperse one by one and at 

It was about two o'clock in the morning when 
he arrived home to find all as he left ; his father not 
having returned. 

When Connell went to bed, it was not to sleep, 
but to think over the events of the night. At one 
time he felt he was in a position now to defy any 
landlord or other who would wrong or oppress him, 
backed up by such a power, sworn to help him, and 
to make his cause theirs. But then he thought, 
what may not be expected from him at any mo- 
ment and what the result ? 

By the break of day William Connell was aroused 
from a sound slumber by some one knocking at the 
door of the cabin, and a feeble voice which he at 
once recognised as his father's, calling, " Bill, avic 
open the dure/' Whereupon William jumped out 
of bed with all haste and opened the door. There 
stood his father looking ghastly as death and 
scarcely able to stand upon his feet ; " Bill, avic, I'm 
afeered I'm dyin, " said the old man," I must go to 
bed at wansht. I'm in a faver, go for the priesht 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 249 

and the docthor." So William did without any delay, 
when it was found he was down with that malig- 
nant and contagious disease, known in Ireland, as 
the fever, very fatal in its effects and dreaded by 

The old man never rallied, but sank rapidly ; a 
few hours before his death he told about his mission 
to Bareham and what befel him afterwards, as near 
as he could guess and that William was ordered to 
leave the place in forty-eight hours, or take the 
consequences. This William declared he never 
would do, come what might. But the last words of 
the poor old Irish cottier were, " Bill, avic go to 
your duty reglarly, and dont do anything bad," and 
soon the old man breathed his last, the victim of 
cruelty and oppression. Poor old Mary Connell 
contracted the fever too, which was aggravated by 
her violent grief for the death of the old man, and the 
landlord's order, so that she sank rapidly and died, 
and was carried to the grave, only a few days after 
her husband. William attended the funeral crushed 
and broken-hearted ; but during his absence Bare- 
ham sent and took possession of the house. 

In such a case, the question of illegality was 
easily set aside ; but William Connell had no 
intention of submitting so easily, therefore a 

250 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

number of the boys were summoned, when 
the bailiffs inside were ordered to open the 
door, which was refused, whereupon the services 
of an old crowbar were brought into requisi- 
tion. The door was forced in, when a hand to 
hand struggle ensued, in which ConnelPs party 
were successful, and bailiffs cut and bleeding were 
ejected. One of them was thrown head long into 
that horrid receptacle of filth, the sink hole, which 
stands at the door of almost every cabin, throughout 
the Country, and at the baek door of many com- 
fortable farmers houses where two doors happened 
to be, — on account of which, the mystery is, that 
there is not more sickness throughout the land. As 
this scene was being enacted, Bareham arrived, and 
walking up to the door ordered it to be opened 
forthwith ; so it was, but in a moment he was 
seized by Connell, by the throat, and forced back 
and into the same sink that the other had just 
emerged from. Bareham was like a wild beast, and 
recovering himself after a good flounder in his 
odoriferous bath, drew a pistol and levelled it at 
Connell and fired, without fire, only so far as pulling 
the trigger went ; the powder had got wet in the 
pan so it did not go off. The other, thirsting for 
revenge still further, flew upon Bareham and dealt 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 251 

him such a blow with an old tongs that he knocked 
him senseless. 

Just then a few soldiers under a sargeant came 
upon them at the double, and arrested Connell. 
Bareham had to be laid upon an old door, taken off 
the hinges, and carried by some of those present to 
his house, to all appearances dead. Connell knew if 
such was the case he had not a chance for his life, 
once inside the jail, so in a moment he made a dash, 
knocked down one of the soldiers ancf ran for his life, 
shot after shot was fired, with no apparent result. 
The country people ran to and fro and bewildered 
the pursuing soldiers, so that Connell successfully 
escaped until after dark, when he made his way 
to where Mary Claymore found him. But on the 
day of his escape, a bullet struck him ; passing 
through his body, without touching a vital part 
passed out and struck his arm shattering the bone. 
Internal hemorrhage and poor care or attention to 
the wounds, left him in the state he was in. A 
reward was offered for him dead or alive, but 
without avail. There, from night to night he saw 
the brethern, who did for him all they could to 
alleviate his sufferings. 

This in brief is the history of Connell up to the 
moment he is introduced to the reader in his lonely 

252 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

subterranean abode, without fire or light except 
what was supplied by the tallow dip. 

He ventured up a few times, about sunrise to see 
the light, and green grass, arid lovely ivy, and to 
hear the birds sing and chirrup in their Grod given 
freedom ; although it saddenned, it also gladdenned 
his heart. The latter counterbalanced the former ; 
as he sighed and returned to his gloomy abode he 
felt thankful for the shelter and protection it afford- 
ed him. 

He had heard from his Nancy Rielly from time 
to time through old Kit Murrought. She assured 
him her heart was with him, and that she was will- 
ing to beg the world over or die with him. 

He had a premonition that he was not going to 
live many weeks, if not days, and this had taken 
absolute possession of his mind ? and he moreover 
remarked that the owl latterly had hung around 
him more than usual, and uttering an unusual and 
most sepulchral sound, which the more he dwelt 
upon, the more he was impressed with the reality 
of the feeling. 

He felt he would die easy if he could only marry 
Nancy Rielly, and feel there was one who would 
truly love him, and mourn for him when 
he was gone ; and more important still, whose loving 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 253 

prayers and tears for him, and~ the repose of his 
departed soul would ascend before the throne of God, 
and be whispered to his soul beyond the confines of 
the tomb. 

Nancy would come, if Mary Claymore would con- 
descend to share the secret of her heart and sorrow, 
and if the priest would also consent to perform 
the ceremony and bless them, which he would not 
refuse to do if asked by Mary Claymore. In this 
Nancy was right, as regards the priest. 

"Mrs. Claymore," said Connell, "is it making too 
bowld to ax you to do this last favir for a dyin 
man ? 

Your heart was always kind and lovin to the 
poor and lonely and I know you'll not be displased 
wid me, you know the sorrows that cums to the heart, 
when we win to-day to lose the day afther the one we 

This appeal went home to Mary Claymore's heart, 
she bent down upon the tomb beside her and wept 
silently, but bitterly, for a few moments. 

Overcoming this outburst of grief she turned to- 
wards Connell and said, " Connell, my poor fellow, I 
will gladly do any thing in my power to cheer your 
lonliness and soothe your grief. " 

" What further do you want me to do ? " " Oh ! May 

254 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

the Lord bless and bring e very comfort to your heart 
and soul, Mrs. Claymore, for this ; * and the poor fel- 
low dropped upon his knees. "May the blessed 
Mother of Jesus and all the Holy Angels watch 
around you day and night, and all belonging to you. 
May the good Lord of Glory lighten your sorrows, and 
bring you happiness as you have done to me. Arnin, 
Amin, O most Sweet Jesus." The poor fellow unable 
to rise, leaned over against the wall as if in a faint, 
the two women ran to his assistance, and putting the 
pitcher to his lips he drank some water and revived. 

Mary Claymore was to see the priest and make 
the appointment and arrangement with him. 

When Mary Claymore returned to the open air 
and daylight, she felt thankful, truly thankful 
for these blessings. But then her heart grew sad, 
when she thought of. the poor fellow she had just 
parted from, She thought, why is it that a young 
man like him, should be goaded on by injustice and 
cruelty, which because he resented in the heat of 
passion, and who would not under the circum- 
stances, except an angel,— be hunted and shot down 
like a wild beast, and forced to take refuge in th e 
abodes of the dead and die there. A heart and 
soul such as Connell's, she thought, and so suscep- 
tible of kindness, and so completely under the con- 

Scenes and Incidents in Iiish Life. . 255 

trol of the tender and holy influence^ of religion and 
love, was not the material to crush out and destroy, 
but to encourage, influence and control by justice 
and kindness, if not by love. Man was like the 
harp ; if touched by skilful fingers, influenced by 
the tender passions of the soul, its notes were in 
accord thereto, made the heart of the performer glow 
with more intensity, and charmed all whose ears 
and hearts it reached, even soothing the savage 
breast. But on the other hand, let the fingers of 
the mailed warrior, moved by the terrible and cruel 
passions associated with the field of battle and of 
blood, awake its notes, and like the music of the 
Ancient Greeks, the strings give forth the clang of 
war, the victor's cry, the strains of triumph, when 
lo ! the glistening sword of blood is unsheathed and 
w r aved on high in response to the current moving 
in the soul, and ten thousand voices rend the air, 
terrible to hear, as wild beasts having tasted blood. 

So thought Mary Claymore as she wended her 
way to the house of Father Luke, who had just 
returned from a distant part of the parish. He was 
delighted to see Mary Claymore ; and treated her 
with the most gallant courtesy and respect. 

" Are you coming to your duty, Mrs. Claymore," 
said he in a playful tone ? "I am coming to do my 

256 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

duty, Father Luke, I hope you are prepared to do 
the same," said Mary Claymore smiling. " Bedad 
the tables are turned on me in airnest now, said the 
priest. I hope you are not going to ax me to. a 
fox-hunt, if so I will do my duty by proxy/' and 
gave a sly look at Mary Claymore. 

"Nor am I going to pay duty upon the last 
cruiskeen of dew : for on my faith I dislike that 
sort of duty. But acknowledge the duty to keep 
in good spirits." 

At this play upon words there was a hearty 
laugh on both sides. 

" Well, I have something to communicate to you 
Father Luke, and request you to do at your earliest 
convenience, and for which I will be your debtor, 
as also others, more immediately concerned and 
seriously. 7 ' So she proceeded to unfold all that was 
necessary to secure the priest's services and co- 
operation ; when she had done speaking, the priest 
looked serious and thoughtful. So well he might, 
for the proposition was no child's play. "Holy 
Peter," at last he exclaimed, " what would become of 
me if I was caught ?" — " which is not at all likely," 
replied Mary Claymore. " You can call to see the 
old woman to-morrow, and I will carry her over 
something, and it will be thought she is unwell and 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 257 

sick, which indeed she is. Then upon the jiight 
appointed, when as you say there is not a chance 
of a patrol on account of that fair and funeral," — 

" And faith a lively time I'm afeerd they are go- 
ing to have of it at the funeral as well as the fair, as 
I'm towld the boys of both factions are musterin . 
Faith it's myself would loike to musther and pepper 
them too, with the horsewhip, the vagabones. 
but sure they play upon poor Father Nick, Mrs. 
Claymore. Did you hear what the spalpeens done 
to him at the last fair, to get him out of the way, 
when the ruction begun, and to prevent him from 
spoilin' their divarshin'?" 

" Well," continued the priest, forgetting all about 
Mary Claymore's embassy, if we may so call it, and 
overflowing with merriment, over the thoughts of 
the scene he was about to relate, " the boys were 
towld Father Nick would spoil their fun at the next 
fair, indeed he towld them so himself from the althar, 
one Sunday he was leatherin them with his tongue, 
but sure it was himself he was preparing the mortifi- 
cation for, and cutting his own cabbage. When the 
fair day arrived, and the boys had all their sticks 
graised and their noggins full of more than buther- 
milk, they gave old Peg Leahy the cobbler's wife, 
a bottle of whiskey, upon her promising to go to bed 

258 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

purteifding she was sick, and begin to bawl melliah 
murther for the priest, that the spirrit was lavin her, 
but by saint Anthony it was t'other way wid her, 
while the bottle lashted, she losht none av the 
sperits. It wuz the bottle wor the sickisht av 
the two ; well all av a suddent she took to bawlin, 
thehaythen, for Father Nick, when it wor ould Nick 
was inside av her. It was surprisin' what a pullaloo 
she raised, so they towld Father Nick a woman was 
in the throes, that she had the last throw, which 
was the truth, to her sorrow, as she had just taken 
the last throw out of the bottle, when Father Nick 
arrived. As soon as he was beside the bed then one 
av the unmannerly blaggards locked the door on the 
outside, and said, " they were safe from ould Nick 
now in airnest, but be my sowl it was the other way 
with them, ould Nick was with them in airnest, 
so they set to murther each other, without molesta- 
tion or interruption. When Father Nick heerd the 
ruction he made for the door, but it was locked, 
and as the bawlin' went on outside, the thief of an 
owld imposther was bawlin' inside, and the priest 
was bawlin' too for some one to open the door, when 
all av a suddint the ould haythen says to Father 
Nick, " begor there's no use in your rivirence killin 
yourself intirely hoashing like that, whin they've 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 259 

kilt aich other to their hearts contint they'll let you 
out." " I thought you were dying," said Father 
Nick, " a while ago." " So I wor your rivirince," 
said the owlcl deceiver, " but I'm betther now, only 
dying fur more of what they gev me to take care of 
your rivirince. " 

Father Xick saw at a glance he was outwitted, 
but declared he would " lambaste ould Peg another 
time." Here Father Luke had a good laugh, and 
Mary Claymore laughed too, and bidding the priest 
good day, departed. 

She called to see old Kit the next day and 
brought some little comforts and delicacies for her. 
The old woman told her poor Connell was much 
worse, and very weak ; she had brought a bottle of 
wine and some jelly which she told the old woman 
to give him, in hopes it would strengthen him for 
the evening of the second day from that time. 

Poor Connell felt the time pass more slowly than 
ever, but the prospect of seeing his adored Xancy, 
and calling her his before lie died, kept him up. 

At length the day arrived, Mary Claymore felt 
anxious and nervous, but kept herself busily 
employed so as not to be dwelling too much or 
particularly upon responsibilities or results. She 
had promised and must keep to her promise at any 

260 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

and all risks, and in the full conviction of the 
righteousness of her undertaking, she committed the 
whole to the Divine over-ruling power. 

She had Nancy Reilly at the hall all the day 
employed, and she was preparing some little deli- 
cacies for poor Connell or as she said to herself to 
celebrate a marriage among the dead. She thought, 
was there ever such an experience outside of a 
novel, or inside the limits of fact. 

The day was one of those nasty ones so frequent 
in Ireland ; drizzling in the forenoon and increasing 
to a down pour, so was this day, and in addition cold 
and blowing, making it all but impossible to hold 
up an umbrella or the hat on one's head. The family 
remonstrated with her for thinking of going out 
such a night, but in vain, she said " she had promised 
and would not disappoint the poor sick one. A 
little before dark, wrapped in a large cloak with a 
hood, the. latter drawn over her head, she started 
out with Nancy Eeilly following, similarly attired, 
and with the little basket under her cloak. After a 
hard battle with the elements, for the wind being 
in her face often brought her to a standstill, she 
arrived at the old abbey, but never did its old walls 
appear so inviting ; and thankful was she when she 
passed through its iron grating and stood on its 
flagged floor, the rain dripping from her cloak. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 261 

f< Miss Mary, allannah, sure an its a terrible 
evening for the loikes of you to be out, the Lord love 
and purtect you from all harm, and spare you to 
the poor for many a day, Arnin." 

Nancy Keilly's cloak was hung upon the inside 
of the door for a double purpose, namely, to keep the 
wind and cold out as much as possible, and as a 
precaution against any though ever so unlikely a 
passer by glancing in. The night had settled down 
into one of black darkness, the wind whistled and 
howled after a most terrific manner, poor old Kit and 
Nancy would cross themselves, accompanied by a 
pious ejaculatory prayer. 

" How is poor Connell to night ? " at length 
whispered Mary to the old woman, " O Miss Mary, 
asthore, failin fasht, all that has held the life in the 
poor boy, was the wine you gev him, the Lord reward 
ye. He has'nt tashted a bit this blessed day, but 
threw up a pile of blood, savin yer presence Miss 
Mary, I'm afeerd its his heart's blood.'' Just as the 
old woman said this the priest pushed open the iron 
grating and passed under the cloak. " May all the 
holy angels and saints purtect us," said he, " but this 
is an unmarciful night Mrs. Claymoor, honey, how 
did you get here at-all-at-all ?" As he said this he set 
down a dark lantern which he carried, and began to 
divest himself of his saturated overcoat. 

262 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

Mary was impatient to visit and relieve poor 
Connell in his suspense, so she asked the old woman 
to remove the flag, but which she said was removed 
and her old box covered it for the last day or two, 
for poor Connell was not able to do so, as hitherto, 
so weak had he become. 

The priest first descended, then Mary Claymore 
and Nancy, the old woman remaining behind, replaced 
the box upon the aperture, and without any light, 
sat down upon her bed to watch and wait. 

A great change had taken place in poor Connell, 
so much so that Mary Claymore was startled and 
almost fainted ; she approached him and tenderly 
spoke to him, poor Nancy modestly stood in the 
background crying silently but piteously ; poor Con- 
nell looked anxiously towards her and mentioned her 

Nancy, at Mary Claymore's beck, came over and 
took his hand in hers and laid her face upon it 
weeping, and sank upon her knees beside where he 
was sitting. It was a most touching, painful scene. 
Mary Claymore suggested to the priest, that the 
sooner he performed his sacred offices the better. 

The priest, therefore, proceeded to hear the confes- 
sions of both, Mary Claymore having retired into a 
remote corner of the gloomy place. No sound of the 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 263 

raging elements without penetrated here, not a 
sound broke the awful silence, save the occasional 
whisper of the priest, and the penitent couple before 
hira. If ever there was simple-hearted sincerity 
and piety in the world, thought Mary Claymore, 
" there it is." After a little the priest proceeded to 
administer the holy eucharist to both, Mary Clay- 
more kneeling most of the time ; then came the 
marriage ceremony ; Mary drew near, ! what a 
strange scene it was, poor Connell was evidently 
making his best effort to keep up, yet more like a 
dead than a living being. There stood that innocent 
and devoted girl, soon to be both a bride and widow. 
Mary Claymore poured out a little wine and made 
Connell take it, as she saw him making a great 
effort to keep from sinking ; soon the ceremony was 
over and Connell and Nancy Reilly were man and 
wife, " till death us do part." The angel of death 
was standing by ; around him his silent entombed 
victims ; he was just waiting the signal to strike 
down another, even at the feet of his beloved bride, 
one effort more was all the failing man could make, 
He asked help of his wife and the priest as he 
tottered to a place in the wall, he took out a stone, 
inside of which was a paper or papers, which he 
handed to his bride saying, " that is all I have to 

264 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

lave you Nancy darlint an my blessin ; when I am 
gone, Father Luke and Mrs. Claymore will see you 
git your roights, and the Lord will reward them. I 
thought we would have lived together in our own 
little home, and I would have worked night and day 
for you, but that was denied me, I have been 
hounded and hunted like a hare, becase I fought for 
my roights, the Lord forgive my persecutors, I pray 
God, Arnin" 

" Nancy asthore, father the strength is laving 
me, lay me down, I feel my heart's blood is going, 
pray for me, my time is come, pray for my soul, God 
bless you my love, give me a hoult of yer hand, 
kiss me asthore the last good bye, you were true to 
me." Here poor Nancy cried and sobbed, " Billy 
you're not going to lave me so soon, stay with me, 
O God help me, Father Luke, Mrs. Claymore, he's 
dying, what will I do, Connell, Connell, darlint 
spake to your own Nancy who loves you." But in 
vain, she was calling upon the dead, poor Connell's 
eyes were set in death, a few spasmodic struggles 
and all was over, Mary Claymore drew away poor 
heartbroken Nancy from the terrible scene, while 
Father Luke laid down the lifeless form and closed 
the eyes, and breathed a prayer. 

The dead man's pet and companion, the owl, sat 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 265 

looking on, as Nancy looked at it, she burst out crying 
afresh. Mary Claymore felt the scene was an awful 
one, such a marriage, such a death, amid such sur- 
roundings. She was suddenly alarmed by a strange 
sound, so was the priest, each looked at the other 
for an explanation, Mary Claymore turned pale as 
death, and stood speechless, her eyes spasmodically 
turned towards the corpse, so did the priest's, who 
made the sign of the cross on himself; Nancy Connell 
followed his example, and stood looking from one 
to the other, terrified, no one dared to utter a sound ; 
on came the noise, now it sounded far off and indis- 
tinct, then near, it sounded as if in the wall, also as 
if proceeding from one of the tombs. A suppressed 
cry from Nancy Connell's lips started Mary Claymore 
and the priest, while with eyes protruding from their 
sockets, and extended hand she pointed towards the 
bare feet of a man protruding from a hole in a dark 
corner of the place. 

When suddenly the figure of a man presented 
itself to the astonished gaze of the terrified group, 
nor was he one whit less astonished and astounded 
when he saw who was there. Soon he was followed 
by another, who likewise shared the same astonish- 
ment ; horror and terror were depicted upon every 
feature when their eyes rested upon the lifeless 
form of poor Connell. 

266 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

For some moments neither party spoke at 
length the priest addressed them by saying : " boys, 
what is the meaning of this ?" — The others had by 
this time recovered from their surprise, and the 
first one who had entered by the flue, as already ex- 
plained, touched his forehead to the priest and said : 
" we cum yer rivirince to see poor Bill Connell and 
to do what ever we could for him, as he said his 
sowl would soon be at resht, yer rivirince, and so 
it is, God resht his sowl this night ! how it howls 
outside and powrs, yer rivirince. Its an awful 
night for any poor sowl to be out, I suppose the 
corpse bether be buried to-morrow night yer rivi- 
rince. The boys will do it dacently any way, but 
it muhst be done unbeknownsht, which be the same 
token is moity hard to bury a fellow crather, 
without a dacent wake or funeral. But its little 
poor Bill cares for ould Bareham or any av his 
loikes to-night, begorra he cant cum within a mile 
av him to throuble him any how, and the devils 
skewr to him, axin yer rivirince's pardon, and Mrs. 
Claymoor, God help us, how is she goin to get 
home without been drowned intirely ? Ther'ill be 
a mass said fur his sowl yer rivirince, and the boys 
will pay fur it any how." 

So as nothing more could be done, Mary Clay- 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 207 

more went with Nancy to take a last look at poor 
Connell and take her last farewell of hiin. This was 
a heart-rending scene. They could not venture to 
return again here, for fear of detection, but had to 
leave the rest of the mournful duties to be perfomed 
by the boys, which would be faithfully and reverent- 
ly done without a doubt. So the priest and the two 
women now took their departure, and left this gloomy 
abode of the dead, and bade good bye to its silent 
tenants, more than likely forever; compelled to lock 
up in the dark recesses of their breasts the secrets 
and associations, in connection with the place, of 
which they were cognizant, and for which the minions 
of the law could have called them to strict and deplor- 
able account, had they been detected in playing the 
part they did. But wrapping themselves in their 
cloaks, they glided like ghosts into the darkness from 
the place accompanied by the priest. 

The night was dark as dungeon, the rain poured 
down in sheets, the wind blew with terrific force. 
In truth, it was one of those nights, of which is said, 
" you would not turn an enemy's dog from your 

Mary Claymore felt every thing in connection 
with the night was in keeping, so was reconciled. 
The priest now used his dark lantern without 

268 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

any fear, and escorted them to the hall. The family- 
were quite uneasy, and surprised that they should 
have remained so late, but the " sick were to be 
attended to" was quite sufficient excuse. Mary 
Claymore experienced an unpleasant and painful 
feeling of restraint, not being able to tell the sad 
scene just witnessed. Her heart felt heavy and, 
burthened. Likewise poor Nancy Eeilly or Connell, 
who had been united to and severed from her lover 
and husband within a few hours, was distracted, 
and yet could not tell her sorrows, at least for the 
present, to any other ; the very time she most 
needed the consolation. 

The priest was urged to take a good tumbler of 
punch, to counteract the effects of the wet and cold, 
which he did, in comparative silence. So that 
Captain D'Arcy was forced to make the remark, 
" that he was evidently affected by the atmosphere," 
'•Yes," said Father Luke, u the night has affected me," 
and he emphasised the word night. " But Captain, 
the elements are all right, I only wish the other 
troubles and dangers of life would correct them- 
selves as soon and their evil effects be as easily 

Here the priest rose up, resumed his great coat, 
said good night, with a hope that Mrs. Claymore 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 269 

would not be the worse of her night's adventure, and 
he started out into the night and down the avenue 
amid the roar of the raging elements, 

Mary Claymore watched the receding light from 
the lantern until it was lost in the distance, when 
her mind strayed back to the late scene beneath the 
olch abbey; she turned away from the wild scene 
without, and retired to her room. 

The night wore on with those who watched or 

waked the dead body of poor Connell, silent and 

dreary it must have been. The body was laid out 

upon one of the old tombs, the feet or face towards 

the altar-tomb on which stood the crucifix, before 

which the dead man often worshipped when alive. 

There sat the owl too, a faithful watcher of the body 

of its dead master and companion, even though a 

lonely bird of the night, and called a bird of ill omen, 

inspiring awe in the minds of many. It had been a 

companion, a consolation, and source of enjoyment 

to the poor fellow that was gone, when all other was 

denied him. No one knows how precious and 

highly prized such a pet is, until placed in a similar 

situation to that of Connell, even a mouse or rat is 

welcome and engrosses all the attention of the 

incarcerated one. 

Poor old Kit Murrought slept up stairs, if we may 

270 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

so call it, on her straw bed, feeling at peace in her 
own soul because she had been so faithful to the 
dead young man, while entombed with the dead, 
though living. This scene had quite disturbed her, 
and she moaned all day, and prayed and walked 
much about the church yard. 

The night following the death of Bill Connell, the 
boys assembled and waked it until after midnight, 
when they set to work and took off the top of one of 
the tombs, and without in the least disturbing or in- 
terfering with the ashes of its ancient occupant, 
laid the body of poor Connell within it. They laid 
the crucifix which had stood upon the other tomb 
upon his breast. Before closing the tomb, those 
men knelt and prayed for the dead, crossed them- 
selves, rose up, replaced the cover of the tomb and 
cemented it. When the last act of burial was finish- 
ed, they left one by one. The owl sat there when 
all were gone, in the silent darkness of the place, 
alone with the dead. 

The next day poor old Kit Murrought locked the 
grated door of her abode, and left the place, and was 
never seen or heard from after. And as to the 
death of poor Connell or what became of him, except 
to those in the secret, it has been a mystery to 
this day. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 271 

The papers left by the dying young man were 
his will and a few pounds he had saved. A lease 
of the old farm, for several unexpired years was in 
existence. All were proven. The good will of the 
little farm was sold, which Nancy received, and 
with which she after a couple of years paid her pass- 
age to New York. Having written two or three 
letters to Mary Claymore, and got out the rest of 
her family to Xew York, all were lost sight of from 
that day to this. Possibly some one or more of 
their descendants may -cast their eyes over these 
pages and recollect hearing the foregoing incidents 
related by the actors in the foregoing scenes. 

! silent and sad some scenes of life, 

In the present as also the past, 
Secrets and sorrows, and crime and strife. 
As the lot of each person is cast. 
Each carries his load 
Along life's rough road ; 
And the tomb receives both at the last, 

272 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

a sister's terrible secret, devotion and 


AEY CLAYMORE was invited by Constance 
Fitzgerald and her brother to spend a few 
weeks with them at Ferndell. Gerald 
Fitzgerald was a relation of the celebrated Lord 
Edward, whose unfortunate and tragic end is so 
well known to the reader of Irish history. Fearful 
and odious, as well as laughable and ludicrous, were 
the laws and enactments which were put forth a- 
gainst the unfortunate Roman Catholic of the times, 
which we shall briefly allude to. Mary Clay- 
more's sympathies and love never changed towards 
these warm-hearted friends of hers. 

Constance Fitzgerald was a handsome girl, of 
buoyant spirits and most amiable disposition, an 
innocent, oving and unaffected girl, as one could 
be acquainted with. 

Gerald Fitzgerald was a handsome dashing young 
fellow, a splendid specimen of the Irish gentleman. 
Impatient of restraint and impulsive, not of that 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 273 

spirit or temper to brook insult or submit to any 
indignities, without resenting such, cost what it 
might. He was ready to dash into anything that 
bristled with danger, and required a dare-devil spirit 
and temper to espouse or embark in the adventure. 
Like most of his country men, he never stayed to 
count the cost, but reckless and regardless of results, 
was ready to do or die. In the time in which 
he lived, and smarting under the stings inflicted 
with an unsparing hand upon his class and creed, 
politically, religiously and socially, it was impossi- 
ble for a man of spirit and feeling, above that of a 
dog, to avoid a collision with the existing ruling 

A bigotted class of underlings, clothed with power 
discretionary, and entirely lacking discretion, 
spurred on to frenzy and desperation those, who, 
under other circumstances, would have proved not 
only peaceable and reconcilable, but loyal. 

The son was offered a bribe or reward to betray 
the father. If he became a Protestant he inherited, 
and the father was disinherited if a Roman Catho- 
lic. Indeed it was a thing of common occurrence to 
provoke an unfortunate Eoman Catholic landed 
estate owner to commit some act of indiscretion, or 
upon the smallest pretext pounce upon him, con- 

274 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

fiscate his property, and without permitting him to 
appeal or assert his innocence, tell him to go ? and 
do that no more, and to be thankful for the clem- 
ency shown him. His property was bestowed upon 
some vile creature of what was supposed to represent 
the Crown. In truth the old saying was fulfilled, 
he got the property for a mere song. Perhaps he 
sung et Croppies lie down," or " the Protestant 
boys," whereby he was esteemed loyal, and so 
rewarded. This is no exaggeration. 

A Eoman Catholic was not allowed to possess a 
horse worth more than five pounds, which perhaps 
was the cause of so many asses having been used 
in Ireland to establish British rule, and are there 
in the same abundance, persecuted and ill-used 
creatures to this day, and mostly fed upon the 
King's high way, — Significant. Dean Swift saw 
the cruelty and injustice with which Ireland was 
treated, and made a prey to designing speculators, 
and peculators. 

It is worth noticing here, that the confiscations or 
forfeitures of the properties of the Irish families 
was of a wholesale character. The superficial 
contents of the Island are computed at 11,042 ; 6 8 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 


In the reign of James the 1st, the whole 
of the Province of Ulster was con- 
fiscated, containing 


Set out by the Court of claims at the 


Forfeitures of 1688 


A considerable portion of Ireland has been con- 
fiscated twice or thrice within a century. So 
terrible was the iron rule of the poor Irish that 
they felt like, what I never saw, but often heard 
of, and can easily imagine, namely, " a hen on a 
hot griddle," which had to keep moving, and although 
not released, yet obtained a sort of relief, notwith- 
standing that one place might be hotter than the 
other. Hence it is that the White-boys, Hearts of 
oak boys, Steel-boys, Peep-o-day-boys, Right-boys, 
whether they were right or wrong, United Irish- 
men, Ribbon-men, Carders, Delf-crackers, any 
amount of skull-crackers, this society was the only 
universal one of the lot, and seemed to be more of 
a national game ; all sprang into existence from 
time to time. 

Each providing and yielding up its own unfor- 
tunate victims to the transport or convict ship and 

276 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

Into the vortex of these terrible times, poor young 
Fitzgerald was drawn, and became a leading spirit. 

He was absent continually, night after night, 
when Constance and Mary Claymore would sit up, 
chatting far into the night. An old woman who 
had been in the family almost half a century, was 
the only domestic. She sat in the kitchen knitting 
away or at some other work. Fitzgerald had no 
fear or suspicion of Mary Claymore as a spy. He 
felt towards her as if she was his own sister. 

Mary Claymore at length took her departure, 
but not without many tears on both sides, and 
heavy hearts. 

She had a strong and strange presentiment that 
it was their last happy meeting, and so it was, as 
the sequel will show. 

Scarcely a month had rolled by when Mary 
Claymore received a letter from Constance Fitzgerald, 
saying her brother was arrested, and that she feared 
he would be brutally and unlawfully dealt with, and 
imploring Mary Claymore to speak to her brother 
and to beg him to enlist the sympathy and services of 
her sister's husband, if possible, being a barrister, and 
urging Mary Claymore by their affectionate and inti- 
mate relation, to see that her brother received fair 
play at the hands of his enemies. Captain D'Arcy 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 277 

at once set off for Dublin, and exacted a promise 
that young Fitzgerald would receive kind treatment 
and justice, a necessary step, for at this time many 
such persons were simply strangled, with only the 
merest semblance of a trial. 

" Sir Ealph Abercrombie," says a historian, " was 
so disgusted at this state of things, and his repre- 
sentations to government of more humane measures 
being adopted, receiving no attention ; he being 
unwilling to tarnish his military fame, or to risk 
the loss of his manly and humane character, 
resigned the command of the army in Ireland, 
after holding that appointment little more than 
four months." 

The trial of Fitzgerald was to come off in a 
couple of weeks, so there was no time to lose to 
prepare for his defence. 

William D'Arcy lost no time in securing the 
presence and services of his brother-in-law, John 
Drapier, who came with all the expedition possible. 
He was assisted and instructed by a Mr. Edwin 
Shiel, a young Eoman Catholic lawyer. For until 
only a short time before, no Eoman Catholic was 
allowed to practice law. 

Edwin was Constance Fitzgerald's lover, so 
that he left no stone unturned whereby to defend 

278 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 

and release Fitzgerald, and upon the other hand 
there was a desperate determination to secure his 
condemnation and execution. 

The struggle was evidently to be a terrible one, 
and against terrible odds, so Edwin Shiel felt. 
But he was hopeful and courageous, seeing who his 
confrere was in the defence, and the friends who 
sympathised with and backed him. 

He consoled and encouraged poor Constance 
Fitzgerald, who wept and prayed, for her brother 
was all in all to her, and she loved him tenderly and 
devotedly, the feeling too was mutual. 

She felt as if she had no relation, no support or 
protection in the world but Gerald. Through the 
influence of her friends she was permitted to see 
him from time to time, as she remained in town 
awaiting the trial, and to afford him all the com- 
fort her presence naturally would be to him. He 
fully realized his desperate position, and that his life 
hung by a slender thread ; and as he looked into the 
sorrowful face of poor Constance he thought, what 
wi]l she do, if I am taken away from her. 

The patriots in the country had had one or two 
encounters with the military and were victorious, 
which incensed the government party more and 
more against Fitzgerald and the other prisoners, 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 279 

some of whom had been ruthlessly strangled, after a 
mock trial and condemnation. 

At length the day for the trial of Fitzgerald 
arrived. He was led into court handcuffed. Yet 
his bearing was dignified and manly, his lips were 
deathly pale; Constance Fitzgerald was there, having 
summoned all her strength and resolution to her 
assistance, she was determined to be brave and calm. 
Beside her sat her old friend Lucy Claymore, now 
Mrs. Drapier, whose deepest and most affectionate 
sympathies were wdth Constance and her brother, so 
she afforded her all the comfort and consolation in 
her power. 

Mary Claymore had to remain at Gurteen as her 
mother was ill, and needed her presence. 

Constance Fitzgerald had many eyes turned upon 
her, as she sat pale and motionless, listening to the 
charge brought against her brother ; she looked lovely 
in her affliction and sorrow, her large dark eyes 
wandered from the prosecuting lawyer to her brother 
and then to the judge, we do not need to allude to 
a jury. 

The idea and intention in connection with a jury 
is that of twelve impartial, unbiassed and unpre- 
udiced men, sitting in judgment upon a peer, and 
calmly and solemnly hearing all the evidence for and 

280 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

against the brother arraigned, and also determining 
and with wisdom discriminating between the 
credible and incredible witnesses, the provocation or 
motives operating upon the accused or accusers, 
where such is not the case we have only to briefly 
remark what occurred and not to stand to describe 
the lovely figurehead of the ship wrecked, when we 
are detailing all the horrors of the dreadful scene. 
The heart-rending cry of despair, as parents and 
children, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters are 
torn from each other, and are engulfed in the aw T ful 
deep, and their frantic cries mocked and drowned in 
the roaring tempest, while at the same time a cherub, 
gaily painted, with radiant face and outstretched 
wings, points forward in hollow lifeless mockery to 
a shore and haven never to be reached. For two 
whole days the trial of Fitzgerald dragged on, 
D rapier and Shiel proved and pleaded and appealed, 
each like a Cicero, and fought lion like to shake the 
grim determination of the power that held the victim 
and prey. 

Constance Fitzgerald could hardly restrain herself 
from rushing forward and throwing her arms around 
her devoted brother's neck and appealing to the 
humanity of man. As she looked upon his noble 
features, and thought of the noble loving heart 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 281 

that throbbed within his breast, she was dis- 
tracted, she clasped her hands together in agony. 
As Drapier concluded his defence, which was an 
•able and powerful one, and resumed his seat, 
there was a terrible, an awful silence, it was a 
painful pause, the few moments of terrible suspense 
were as a lifetime, when at last these terrible words 
fell upon the ears of Constance Fitzgerald, " tried 
and found guilty." Lucy Drapier was unable to 
speak or move, when a piercing cry rang through 
the court. It was Constance Fitzgerald, who had 
also fainted and was carried from the court by Shiel 
and William D'Arcy, an apparently lifeless form ; 
what a howl swept through the crowd as they beheld 
the helpless figure and sweet passive countenance 
of the lovely girl who soon came to herself in the 
open air. William D'Arcy and Lucy took her to 
their hotel and cared for her, Shiel returned into the 
court. She begged to be allowed to return but they 
gently remonstrated, as they knew only too well 
what was to follow. 

When she screamed and fainted, Fitzgerald, 
forgetful of his situation, struggled to reach her, but 
his handcuffed condition and the strong hands of his 
guards hindered him. What pen can describe his 
feelings, his breast heaved and swelled like the 

282 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

surface of the ocean before a storm, and he sank 
back overpowered to hear his sentence. 

It was a terrible scene and trial. William D'Arcy 
thought of the gay and dashing young friend he had 
seen and met in the ball-room in days gone past, 
whirling and gliding in the mazy dance with the 
gay and fashionable belles of London society, now 
standing in the felon's dock. 

The judge now proceeded to pass sentence upon 
the unfortunate young man, who also looked as 
calm and dignified as that official of the crown. 

The sentence was, that he was to be hanged by 
the neck at the place of public execution, upon a 
certain day and hour with the usual ascription 
which sounded only as hollow mockery. 

Upon the conclusion of the sentence he was led 
from the court, back to the jail, there to await his 
doom, which was to take place a fortnight from that 

Every appeal that could be made was made to 
save his life, but without avail. 

The only favor that now remained to ask, with a 
hope of having granted, was the melancholy consola- 
tion of having the body delivered over to his heart- 
broken sister after execution. In this they suc- 
ceeded and received the order for the sheriff to 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 283 

deliver the body of Fitzgerald to his friends imme- 
diately after execution. 

Edwin Shiel was feeling very sad, all the thoughts 
that can fill a lover's mind pressed upon him heavily. 

His union with Constance was indefinitely 
postponed, nay more probably all hope of such was 
dispelled, the sad news was gently broken to Cons- 
tance Fitzgerald. But she had prepared her mind 
for the worst, so received the melancholy intel- 
ligence with great calmness and resignation, she 
prayed and wept, and found consolation in her 
religion and reliance upon her God and Saviour. 

In her bed-room she had as always a little table 
trimmed altar-like, and on it stood a handsome 
crucifix, a birthday gift she had received from her 
beloved brother ; beside it, on either side, stood hand- 
some wax candles in little silver candlesticks, in 
front of these lay her book of devotions, and she read 
and prayed and gazed upon that crucifix, with 
unceasing and untiring devotion, with the thoughts 
of her doomed brother in her heart, and his name 
upon her lips, and thus she awaited the dreadful day. 
She requested William D'Arcy to write to their 
neighbor and physician Doctor Kennedy at Ferndell 
to be in attendance upon that dread day ; Doctor 
Kennedy was an intimate friend and companion 
of her brother. 

284 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

Mr. Drapier had to return to London at once. 
Lucy decided to go down to G-urteen for a time, as 
Mary Claymore wished to be with Constance Fitz- 
gerald through her bitterest trial, and it was the fond 
and ardent desire of the latter. 

Little did either imagine the unexpected and 
startling experience that was yet in store for them, 
even after the gallows had done its worst, but 
Providence in His divine wisdom hides the dark 
and stern decrees of fate in the impenetrable caves 
of the future. A Parnassus into whose cavernous 
depths we enter step by step, wondering and trem- 
bling for the unfolding of each successive mystery, 
and training every nerve to hear the prophetic voice 
of the oracle, or with the eye to penetrate the gloomy 
hidden*ttepths of its abode. 

The fatal morning at length arrived, Constance 
had determined to remain with her brother to the 
last, to pray with and comfort him, as a priest 
was not permitted to visit him. It was a gloomy 
morning in or out of doors. A heavy mist hung 
over the city at daybreak, which turned to a thick 
mist, followed by a regular downpour. At eight 
o'clock the sheriff, executioner and two or three 
other functionaries entered Fitzgerald's cell, and 
proceeded to pinion him before leading him forth 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 285 

to execution. This was a trying ordeal for the 
heart-broken girl who scarce able to stand, kissed 
him her last farewell. He said " God bless you, my 
darling, pray for me," and, turning towards the group 
of friends, said, " God reward you each and all," and 
was led away to his doom, the solemn little proces- 
sion of death slowly winding its way across the jail 
yard to the scaffold. Two carriages, each drawn 
by a pair of spirited horses stood in sight ; one was 
to convey the body of poor Fitzgerald, accompanied 
by Dr. Kennedy, and the other was for Constance 
Fitzgerald and her old servant. She would not per- 
mit Mary Claymore or her brother to accompany 
her, as she said they must not now be seen in com- 
pany with the sister of one executed by the hands 
of the common hangman ; and so took her leave 
of them with much affection and went and sat in 
her carriage with that cold, calm, determined resig- 
nation, that appeared like a mental aberration, and 
awed the beholder into an acquiescence. 

When the condemned man arrived at the scaffold, 
he ascended it with a firm step. The rope was 
adjusted ; William D'Arcy turned away. Poor 
Fitzgerald was offering his last prayer, when the 
bolt was withdrawn and all was over. 

Immediately, however, William D'Arcy presented 


286 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

his order for the body which was instantaneously 
cut down, was wrapped in a great heavy cloak, and 
conveyed to the carriage, in which it was placed, 
accompanied by Dr. Kennedy. The gates of the jail 
yard opened and the carriage passed out, moving 
slowly for a little, but increasing until they were go- 
ing at the top of their speed, on the road to Ferndell^ 
amid the torrents of rain. 

Constance Fitzgerald seemed to be oblivious of 
everything, and sat more like a marble statue, than 
a living being. 

Furiously did the horses splash onward without 
a pause, for nearly two hours. 

They charged up each hill at the gallop, for about 
half way, walking the remainder of the ascent. 

Thus did this sad and novel funeral convey the 
body of the heir of Ferndell back to his once happy 

At length the leading carriage drew up before an 
avenue gate. The horses enveloped in a cloud of 
steam from their dripping bodies, stood panting, 
and enjoying the short pause which was made to 
throw open the gate, 

Under an overhanging line of beech trees, on 
either side of the avenue, for a few hundred yards 
they passed along, until the carriages again drew up 
before the hall door, 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 287 

A most romantic looking spot it truly was ; hidden 
away amongst trees of all sorts stood the home of 
the Fitzgeralds. 

Cottage style, thatched roof with attic windows 
peeping out under the heavy deep thatched arching 
eaves, which presented a delightful and quaint ap- 
pearance. A great mass of dark green ivy covered one 
end of the building, completely encircling and hiding 
the large chimney. It had also crept over part of the 
front of the cottage, and half hid one of the parlor 

A rustic porch covered with vines, ornamented 
the main entrance. This was opened by an old man, 
who, coming forward, having opened the carriage 
door for Constance Fitzgerald, stood on one side 
with bared and bowed head, until she had alighted, 
and passed into the house. He then moved towards 
the other carriage and assisted in removing the body 
of his unfortunate young master into the house ; 
the weary horses and carriages moving on around 
the building to the coach house in rear. 

Dr. Kennedy at once laid the body on a sofa. 
Constance Fitzgerald glided into the room, and 
kneeling besided the beloved form, stroke 1 back 
the hair from off that manly face, but now some- 
what distorted, — despite the efforts of the doctor to 

288 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

restore it to its natural appearance while travelling 
along the road, — after a few moments' silent con- 
templation her rigid features relaxed j the pent up 
feelings gave way ; the fount of tears were opefted, 
and she wept and frantically kissed that passive? 
face, and rested her's gently upon it. It was Jet 
warm and soft as though in sleep, and she sighed 
aloud, addressing the dead, as if to awake him from 
asleep or trance : — " Gerald, my beloved Gerald, 
speak to me, speak to your heart-broken Constance. 
Oh ! that those eyes could open and look upon me, 
those lips speak to me, my darling Gerald." 

Dr. Kennedy was busy making some prepara- 
tions for the body. 

The doors were now bolted, the lower parts of the 
window-shutters were closed, the curtains of which 
were nearly drawn across, the place looked lonely 
and deserted, as if it were the resting place of the 
dead instead of the dwelling place of the living. 

A horse and cow were the sole occupants of the 
lawn. The former was a strong built, well made 
hunter, used by poor Fitzgerald in his happier 
days ; therefore would not be parted with, but 
regarded with love, and affectionately cared for. 

Otherwise there were no signs of life about the 
place. It was given out that the remains of young 

Scenes and Incidents in linsh Life. 289 

Fitzgerald would be interred at night, in an old 
chapel yard on the estate, not far from the house, 
and where many of the Fitzgerald family had been 

The place was therefore shunned by all instinc- 
tively, as gloomy if not ghostly. 

Edwin Shiel managed all the affairs of Fern dell, 
which brought him occasionally in contact with 
Constance, to hand her money. Even upon such 
occasions his visits were short, and interviews cold 
and restrained on the part of Constance Fitzgerald, 
who seemed to feel restless and uncomfortable in his 
presence. She seemed to grow more wasted and 
spiritless each time he saw her. He feared her mind 
was failing with her body, and he grieved. He 
urged with all the tenderness possible, that she was 
destroying herself, and should change her mode of 
life but she coldly said, not yet. 

He thought he heard a strange noise upon one 
or two occasions, for which he could not account, 
yet would not venture to notice. 

Eeports were rife that Ferndell was haunted by 
the ghost of the unfortunate young Fitzgerald; 
some declared that they had seen him, and that 
his ghost was exercising an influence over the 
devoted and lonely girl, and the old servant woman. 

290 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

The whole neighborhood entertained an awful 
dread of the place. 

On no account would any one approach, or be 
found in the vicinity of the house after dark. 

Constance Fitzgerald was never seen abroad. 
Old Casey, who was at the house when the body of 
Fitzgerald arrived, brought what ever things were 
required, and delivered them to the old woman at 
the kitchen door, and left immediately. 

Thus a whole year went by, or more. The old 
servant was sick but Constance Fitzgerald attended 
to her faithfully. 

One day Edwin Shiel came to Ferndell. He 
knocked as usual but received no response. He 
walked around the house, everything wore an 
appearance of desolation, and as if a human being 
had not been in or around the place for years. 
The walks were overgrown with weeds and grass, 
as also all the flower beds. The garden gate was 
broken with the wind. The paved yard was all 
grass grown even to the doors of the stables and 
coach-house. Shiel went to the kitchen door but it 
was bolted too. 

A flight of stone steps at the back of the house, 
went up to a part of the attic. These steps he 
ascended, he took hold of the latch of the door at 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 291 

the top of this flight of steps, and it opened. It 
was a store room, he went forward to another door 
which opened into a passage, along this he followed ; 
he started at the sound of his own footsteps, and 
felt a strange nervous feeling creep over him. 
He could not venture to call, he hesitated to break 
the death-like silence of the place. 

He was fully possessed with the feeling that 
something startling was soon to reveal itself to his 
sight, perhaps the beloved form of his Constance 
lying dead. For this he prepared himself. He 
now descended a back stairs leading, he felt, to the 
servants' quarters or the kitchen. When he ar- 
rived at the foot of the stairs he called out gently, 
" Miss Fitzgerald/' but there was no response save 
the echo of his voice through the empty house ; 
he called again, and now in a painful agony of 
mind, and loving impatience he called Constance. 
He then paused for the faintest sound in response, 
perhaps she is ill he thought, and too weak to an- 

The light was very dim in the passage where he 
stood, as in all the rooms because of the half-closed 
windows. As he stood listening with breathless 
silence, he thought he perceived a muffled footstep, 
he again called, when to his horror he heard a 

292 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

most unnatural sound or [series of sounds. The 
perspiration stood in great drops upon his forehead. 

Suddenly a figure stood before him, it was that of 
a man. The eyes rolled wildly, frightfully. The 
head twitched and jerked, which together with the 
awful contortions of face, presented a shocking ap- 

Shiel thought he recognized something of the 
features of Gerald Fitzgerald, and moreover the 
clothes, the dress, was the same as that in which 
the unfortunate young man was hanged. 

The young lawyer for a moment was struck 
dumb, then in a nervous and startled voice he 
exclaimed ! " In God's name who or what are you ? 
Speak." But the form began to gesticulate with the 
hand, as if to advance or for silence, yet not uttering 
a sound. Again Shiel essayed to speak ; u Are you, in 
the name of God, Gerald Fitzgerald, or what would 
you have me to do ? where is your sister ? " Here 
the form began silently to move away, at the same 
time motioning to Shiel to follow. Shiel did so, into 
the parlor through a door at the opposite end to that 
at which he entered. There stood a bed, beside it 
half kneeling, half reclining, was the form of 
Constance Fitzgerald. He lifted her from the floor 
gently and tenderly, but to his horror he found 
she was dead and cold. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 293 

In a frenzy of agony he called her name, but 
alas ! all her troubles were over and forever. The 
spirit of Constance Fitzgerald had taken its flight 
some hours before. Beside him still stood the 
strange form. On the bed too, lay the form of 
the old woman, dead. Shiel now spoke, and said. 

" In God's name, what does this mean ? Do 
speak, man or ghost." 

But there was no reply, yet he could still see by 
the dim light that remained, that the eyes of this 
strange apparition before him were rolling in a 
frightful manner, the head and face spasmodically 
jerking and making the most hideous grimaces. 

Shiel knew not what to do, an indescribable 
feeling of horror, fear and curiosity overcame him. 
He fixed his eyes upon the spectral form in mute asto- 
nishment, undecided what to do ; as he continued to 
gaze upon it, amidst the gathering shadows, he 
became convinced that the form and features were 
those of young Fitzgerald, and as the conviction 
became stronger and more firmly fixed in his mind, 
the apparition made a more terrible impression upon 
him. In this unpleasant and bewildering situation 
he stood, when to his great relief he heard a knock- 
ing at the back entrance. Without removing his 
eyes from the object before him ; Shiel called out, 

294 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

to come in by the stone steps, who ever it was. He 
now felt a great relief, and a feeling of indescribable 
thankfulness to Providence for such timely succor 
filled his anxious mind. 

He now heard the sound of footsteps above, then 
descending the back stairs he had descended, then 
in the hall approaching, and he called out again, 
u come this way," but never removed his eyes from 
the apparition which he expected would disappear 
upon the approach of the strange visitor, but no, 
there it stood until the new comer stood in the room. 
It was Doctor Kennedy. 

" Is that you Kennedy ?" " What ! Shiel, you 
here ? " replied the doctor in surprise. 

" thank God you have come, said the latter, what 
does all this around me mean ? do you see anything 
before me there ? It is the form and features of 

" So it is, said Kennedy, poor fellow, saved from 
the gallows as you see him, I will tell you all in a 
moment. How are the patients ? " " Dead," said 
Shiel, " dead, I found them dead when I entered, 
and feared it was murder." 

Doctor Kennedy lighted a candle which stood on 
the mantle piece and examined the dead. Dead 
both were, mistress and domestic, and for some 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 295 

hours. When Shiel looked upon the face of Cons- 
tance Fitzgerald, looking so calm and lovely in 
death, he utterred an agonizing cry and said, " my 
darling Constance dead." As he stood up from the 
sofa, exclaiming " Constance dead/' and turned his 
face full upon Fitzgerald, the latter uttered a cry or 
groan repeating Shiel's words, " dead ! Constance 
dead ! no, when ? how ? " 

Kennedy started up in amazement, excitedly 
asking " that's not Fitzgerald spoke ? " 

" It is," said Shiel, "he repeated my words as I 
stood before him." 

" How am I here ? " said Fitzgerald, f< Is Cons- 
tance dead ? where is she ? The court house scene 
has done it,'' all this he said in a stammering jerking 

His eyes now fell upon Constance, and he threw 
himself down beside her, groaned and wept, yes 
wept most piteously, violently. He tossed himself to 
and fro in a paroxysm of grief, to the utter amaze- 
ment of the doctor, much more so than to Shiel. 

Kennedy took the latter aside and with feelings 
of most nervous excitement, explained to him that 
after the execution, the body of Fitzgerald was cut 
down immediately, • that his feet having struck the 
ground, the neck was not broken, only partial 

* 296 Scents and Incidents in Irish Life, 

strangulation and the terrible shock to the nervous 
system resulted ; that during the drive from the jail 
to Ferndell he resorted to every means to restore 
respiration and circulation, which, when he arrived 
he was enabled to carry out more effectually by 
bleeding and other means, assisted by poor Constance 
Fitzgerald and the old servant. After much work and 
untiring care and attention, they were rewarded by 
bringing him to, just as he saw him when he entered, 
but that he had never heard him utter a word since, 
nor indeed did he seem to intelligently comprehend 
what was transpiring around him, but moving about 
like $ne in a dream or trance, or more correctly 
still, like an idiot of a certain class ; that he could 
only account for this ray of light or consciousness 
bursting upon him by some shock from Shiel's 
cry, and uttering Constance's name and dead, or 
looking him full in the face for the first time since 
the terrible court scene ; evidently both had combined 
in acting upon him, with the extraordinary result 
before them, and that the violent grief would no 
doubt act upon him with still better and further 
results, at which he rejoiced, but then he added with 
a sigh, " how dreadfully sad is it to think that after a 
twelve months' untiring love and devotion, and 
the terrible seclusion for the sake of the darling 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 297 

object of her affections and prayers, and the terrible 
anxiety and ordeal she endured day and night, she 
should not hear him utter a word." He appeared to 
have realized her presence to some extent, and to have 
been influenced by her ; under any circumstances to 
have him wa3 a comfort, but the unceasing strain of 
watching and care, and to prevent it going abroad 
that he was alive, never taking open air exercise, all 
combined were too much for that feeble frame which 
had to succumb. 

The poor old woman had been most faithful too, 
she had been ailing for some time past and had 
evidently died first, this last shock was the climax 
no doubt, and as she sat or knelt by the bed where 
lay her faithful and devoted old domestic and friend, 
who had been in the family for the last fifty years, 
and cared for her from her infancy had now passed 
away uttering her last blessing and word to her 
young mistress, it was too much for that over- 
burdened heart and crushed life, so she bowed her 
lovely head upon that bed, in lonely grief and silent 
prayer, and thus passed away to a brighter and more 
peaceful home, and now left her terrible secret to 
others to keep and care for. 

This was the doctor's story of what he was 
cognizant, and the last what he conjectured, which 
was no doubt correct also. 

298 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

A letter lay on the table addressed to Mary Clay- 
more, It had been written for some time ; it was a 
letter full of the tenderest affection and saying she 
felt $he would not live very long. 

This letter was kept for many years afterwards, 
and whenever it was turned over, a tear was let fall 
upon it, and a sigh heaved from the innermost re- 
cesses of Mary Claymore's heart, as she also told the 
sad tale of the unfortunate young girl. 

William D'Arcy was written to, begging of him 
to come post haste to Ferndell, and if possible Mrs. 
Claymore with him, that there was a most impor- 
tant secret to be unfolded to him, and a matter of 
surpassing importance to be laid before him, which 
no one but himself could act upon or undertake 
with any hope of success. 

William D'Arey and Mary Claymore hastened to 
Ferndell with all possible despatch, the surprise and 
astonishment of both can be better imagined than 
described, the whole scene within the walls of that 
home beggars description. 

Poor Fitzgerald with the help of the doctor had by 
this time come to realize everything, as he stood 
before his old but faithful friends, it was a solemn 

Now the question was, what was to be done about 

Sce7ies and Incidents in Irish Life. 299 

Fitzgerald, for fear it might become known he was 
alive. It was therefore resolved upon that a petition 
should be drawn up and presented to Lord Fitzwil- 
liam, who was to the great joy of the country the 
representative of the Crown in Ireland and most 

William D'Arcy was the only man to present 
this petition, and without any loss of time he 
prepared to do so. 

In the meantime the last sad duties and rites 
respecting the dead, were being attended to by 
Edwin Shiel and Doctor Kennedy ; Mary Claymore 
acting as mistress of the household, helped by the 
wife of the old man who attended about the house. 
Fitzgerald remained secluded until the pardon was 

Some leading names signed the petition, and 
together with Capt. D'Arcy presented it w r ith an 
humble but urgent and pathetic appeal to Earl 
Fitzwilliam, by whom it was graciously received 
and readily granted. This, notwithstanding the 
sorrow and gloom attaching to the whole affair, 
caused much rejoicing, and were it not for the sad 
scene at Ferndell, the whole country would have 
been one blaze of bonfires and rejoicing. The 
D'Arcy family were, if possible, more than ever the 
idols of the people. 

300 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

It was well, however, that the petition was pre- 
sented when and to wBom it was, for Earl Fitz- 
william only continued altogether two months in 
office, when he was recalled, to the great grief of the 
people. "The day of his departure was one of 
general gloom," says an historian, ^the shops were 
shut, no business of any kind was transacted, and 
the whole city of Dublin put on mourning. His 
coach was drawn to the waterside by some of the 
most respectable citizens, and cordial sorrow was 
upon every countenance." 

Fitzgerald improved much under the care of 
some skilful doctors, together with Kennedy, who 
was in constant attendance. 

Old Bailey and his wife took care of the house, 
place and master, Shiel still continuing to manage. 

So Ferndell was once more silent, but its life and 
charms were gone, and forever, although its terrible 
pall was torn off or at least changed. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 301 



ILLIAM D'Arcy kept open-house, as the 
saying goes, and true it is, attach what 
meaning you like to it, " where the car- 
case is thither will the eagles be gathered to- 
gether.'' The butterflies and honey bees often find 
their way into the house of open doors, but on close 
contact one will lose the colors, and the other will 
leave a sting. Such are the experiences of life. 

Gay dinner parties were given at Gurteen. Henry 
D'Arcy and a couple of officers were there for the 
shooting season, when nothing but merriment re- 
sounded upon all sides. 

William remained at home with his mother and 
sister and her two boys ; the older one Henry 
the other Francis William. Except for a brief trip 
to London, he was seldom away for any length of 

One fault he had, and it was that of all his class, 
his expenditure far exceeded his income. And to 

save selling part of the property he was obliged to 

. u 

302 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

borrow part of the fortunes of his two sisters. He 
was, in short, becoming embarrassed, and seriously. 

Mrs. D'Arcy was now well advanced in years, 
and began to fail rapidly, she was often to be met, 
accompanied by Mary Claymore ? out driving in a 
little low vehicle, drawn by a donkey, as she 
visited the poor and sick. 

It was amusing to see how she enjoyed the con- 
sequential and polite attention and enquiries of a 
yvell known character, Concanon, known as "the 
major" to all the country around. He was always 
mounted on an old charger, with a Cavalry man's 
saddle. Both were presented to Mm by two or 
three young gentlemen in the place, both to carae 
amusement and annoyance. There was- an old 
property and residence in the neighborhood,, which 
had been appropriated by the government, an official 
from the castle by some means got possession of it„ 
he styled himself major, but of what no one could 
find out, Kone of the gentry around called upon 
him or took any notice of him. He was appointed 
a J. P,, was no horseman ; this he found was 
against him amongst a fox hunting people, so he 
commenced to practice privately in his own 

As there was a striking resemblance between 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 303 

himself and Concanon, who was a simpleton, but 
had free access to every house and presence ; the 
latter became greatly puffed up when he was told 
he was so like Major de Bujette, or, as the people 
pronounced it " the Budget," to the great annoyance 
of its owner. Thinking it would be good policy de 
Bujette enployed an Irish groom, to advise him as 
to his style of horse and riding deportment. 

He bought a horse which had the habit of letting 
fly its beels now and again, but that, Mike 
gravely assured him, was just the animal for him to 
practice with, if he ever intinded to hunt. 

The animal, moreover before it kicked, had the 
habit of switching its tail, and then making it rigid 
at an angle of forty-five degrees, as if it wanted to 
kick that appendage off. This habit was turned to 
account. Mike was instructed to walk, or ride be- 
hind, and to tell when there was any indication of 
the back action, — as the mechanic would say. — being 
employed ; when Mike would cry out, " tail yer 
honor," when bang would go the heels, and de 
Bujette would grip the saddle, but, forgetting, would 
let in the spurs, making an unexpected and un- 
pleasant encore for the actor, but most enjoyable 
for the audience. 

Concanon rode through the country, and was 

304 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

styled Major, and all who met him saluted him, and 
some would ask his honner the time o'day, as he 
carried an old watch of huge dimensions, which he 
pulled out with great ostentation. 

When he would come to G-urteen with a letter 
from some of the gentlemen around, for he was 
continually so employed, he would be made act the 
Major up and down the lawn, when some one would 
insert a bunch of thistles or nettles under the animal's 
tail, and an uproarous scene was the result. Some 
would cry out now and again, 66 tail yer honner." 
The old brute would pause at intervals from sheer 
exhaustion, when the Major would fix his old caubeen 
and prepare for another game of pitch and toss. 

Another scene might have been witnessed at 
times, when the workmen and women were done 
their day's work in the summer time. They were 
all assembled around the hall door, and an old blind 
piper, who was a constant visitor at Gurteen, was 
seated outside. There the dancing and merriment 
was indulged in to the full. Old Mrs. D'Arcy, 
seated in her armchair, looking on and enjoying the 
scene, beside her sat Mary Claymore; her two 
sons either talking to the Major and praising his 
horsemanship, or near the piper's drones. William 
D'Arcy would whisper to the Major, to ask Mrs. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 307 

Claymore to dance, whereupon the Major would 
step forward, hat in hand, and ask if " her ladyship, 
Mrs. Claymore, would afford her humble sarvint the 
honnerable foilicity of meantherin a step wid him." 

Not to spoil the fun, Mary Claymore would say, 
thank you Major, I shall be most happy. 

When, without any of give-her-your-arm style, 
each one would take his or her respective places 
and partners, amid the greatest cheering. The 
Major looking as if he had the drop, as well as the 
dropsy in his head and chest, and walking on the 
tops of his toes, his old rusty spurs sticking out 
behind, Cavalry style. 

One evening a most ludicrous scene occurred. 
The Major was dancing away, his hat on " three 
hairs," as the saying goes, his hands on his hips, + 
he hopping away upon one leg most extravagantly, 
when suddenly, as one of the girls was whirling past 
him, her dress caught in the spur of the foot on the 
ground, when round he went like a spinning jennie, 
and away went the leg, and sprawl went the Major, 
to the greatest delight and distress of the assembly ! 
distress because of the convulsions into which they 
were thrown. It is needless to allude to the cause 
of the delight, for spectators always take great 
delight in such disasters and actors. 

308 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

A round of punch and bread-and-butter would 
then be handed to each. After which three cheers 
would be given for the Master and the whole 
family, and then one for the Major, who would 
mount his charger to. leave, one of the servants 
running to hold the horse's head and stirrups^ for 
his honner to mount, while another would pay at- 
tention to the animal's tail, with the decoration of a 
nettle or thistle, and sing out " tail yer honner," as 
the animal went in buck jumps, only not switching 
its tail, but on the contrary pressing it home tight, 
to hold the exhilerating, and inspiriting weed. A* 
he went along the road the people would cry out 
" tail yer honner." 

When de Bujette heard of this he was furious, 
* and little as it seems, it made him one of the most 
unhappy of men. And when he heard the ridicu- 
lous pronunciation of his name said to his face with 
all gravity, Mr. the Budget, he would feel much 
annoyed, but when he looked at the innocent look- 
ing grave face of the individual, hat in hand, he 
would not know what to say. 

There was also in the parish a fiddler — was there* 
ever a parish without one, or a piper — he walked 
about a short distance with a crutch and stick, but 
travelled from place to place with a donkey and car ; 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 309 

his name was Meara, nicknamed Murragher. He 
was always a welcome visitor too, and I need hardly 
add was fond of the crayther, and it was stoutly 
asserted that himself, or Mickey Hobbins, the piper* 
always played grand, when they were possessed of 
the sperits, or vice versa. 

Well one day Murragher arrived, escorted by the 
Major, an l, as it happened, Hobbins, the piper, was 
there. Well there was music that night in the 
kitchen, which was full of the men and women 
about the yard and place. Hornpipes were danced, 
songs sung, melodies played, solos and duets until 
far into the night. At length all had retired for 
the night. The fiddler and piper were to sleep to- 
gether. The Major upon a shake-down in the 
same room, as also a bottle of potheen. 

The minstrels were gone to bed after a fashion? 
the major was stitching some part of his breeches, 
which was trying to effect a divorce from that to 
which it had been joined, whether incongruously or 
not is beside the question. He was snuffing the 
candle from time to time with his fingers ; on one 
occasion catching the wick a little too low down* 
because of some unsteadiness in the floor or table, as 
he said, he slapped the candle on the floor instead of 
the snuff and muttered that " the ould boy was in 

310 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

the candle." He then groped his way to the kitchen to 
light it, when he returned he found the two musi- 
cians out of bed and going for their respective 
instruments to play, because of a dispute which 
arose as to their individual merits, as performers, and 
their holding-out qualities. Each tuned up ; the major 
was to act as umpire, all took a drop before taxing 
their energies, then at it they went, orderly at first, 
gliding gradually into the disorderly and discor- 
dantly, it was " one at a time av ye please " at first, 
as the major commanded, then one party grew 
impatient and dashed at it two together, Murragher 
hurrahing like an indian. The major snapping his 
fingers, and now and again slapping where his nether 
garments were, about which he altogether forgot in his 
excitement, and crying out " busht yer bags, bravo 
Hobbins, hurroo, begorra but the devil is in the pipes 
merely." This scene was in full blast when the door 
was soon surrounded by all the servants, half dressed, 
the women as well as the men, but what a scene I 
there was the major in highland costume, not 
minding any one or any thing only that for which 
he was selected, namely, to act as judge in this 
musical contest, and he did his duty, for after a 
long contest and uproar, they were both pronounced 
the best, and put to bed, and once more the house 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 311 

was in silence, with a feeling of sorrow that even 
fun and the ludicrous tire us out. 

Next morning another scene was enacted ; the 
major in his excitement had put the needle in too 
far, completely stopping the way of ingress for one 
branch of his understanding. In other words 
stitched up one leg of his inexpressibles, so could not 
get into them. The musicians offered the opinion 
that the fairies were in the room through the night, 
the major responding " begorra there wor some kind 
av sperits," and so waited patiently until one of the 
women prepared the way for his vagabond leg, by 
opening the highway and closing the bye way. 

The next morning there was a hearty laugh over 
the whole scene as described by one of the servants, 
who was an eye-witness, nor did the picture lose 
anything in the retouching process. 

Now the truth is, this class of persons were 
indispensable attaches to those families of the olden 
time, they were really both useful and ornamental ; 
the minstrels helped to drive away sorrow and 
gloom and weariness, and to promote cheerfulness. 
The fatigue of the day vanished with the mirth 
inspiring strains of the pipes or fiddle. And, I repeat, 
that a people susceptible of such feelings, emotion^ 
or impulses, are easily won and governed, if only 


3 12 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

the spirit of avarice and selfish ambition are not 
allowed to bear sway. But, as Lord Bacon says, 
*' there are some who would set a neighbor's house 
•on fire to roast their own eggs," so has it been with* 
many who were entrusted with the government of 

Weil the morning following the scene just des- 
cribed, Murragher was walking around the haggard 
where the men were at work in the barn winnowing 
wheat or oats ; his ass was picking some grains out 
of the chaff, when William D'Arcy and a gentleman 
were returning from some shooting ; they w T ere 
laughing heartily over the trial of strength between 
the two musicians with the major as an umpire, and 
one of them was just telling what Murragher had 
said to a musical friend whose attention was 
attracted by his loud music and good time, " my 
friend, said the gentleman, how do you play, by note 
or by ear." " Begor by naither yer homier I play by 
mainstrenth." They had now come to the barn- 
door where stood the fiddler looking at his ass ; 
" come now Murragher," said D'Arcy, " what will 
you take and give me a shot at the ass, I will promise 
not to kill him." The other scratched his head for 
a moment, and then said, " begorra, blaize away 
misther William for half a crown." A bargain, said 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 313 

D'Arcy, as he lifted the fowling piece to his shoulder. 
The ass at the same moment lifted his head and 
cocked his ears, as much as to say " what's coming 
now" ? just then D'Arcy let fly, taking aim at the 
animal's tail ; if ever a brute was astonished it was 
that. Its capers and antics and bewilderment and 
wagging its tail w 7 as surprising. It shot out of the 
haggard just as the major w T as leading his charger 
to the stables to saddle, knocked the major clean 
over, sprawling, it continued its course furiously, 
kicking like de BujetWs horse, at its own tail, 
because of the sensation produced there, and the 
unusual irritation. The animal stopped once as if to 
think but suddenly wagging its tail started again. 

Murragher got the half crown ; this was a plain 
illustration of the old saying " money makes the old 
mare go." The results of that shot did not end there 
— more than shot was infused. In the evening 
as ilurragher was leaving and had got into the 
car and was lifting his crutch after him, the ass 
thought it was the gun being aimed at him again 
and started at a furious rate down the avenue, 
throwing Murragher on his back. On went the ass, 
out on the high road, the fiddler cursing, as he flew 
by houses and people ; they all wondered whether 
it was the ass or its master had got too much. They 

314 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

concluded it was both. Ever afterwards the fiddler 
had only to point his crutch at the ass accompanied 
with a shot of his tongue and it was off. This lasted 
for a long time, but it soon grew used to the imposture. 

One day some time after this, the animal was 
hungry and ate too much rich grass in the lawn, 
lay down and died. When Murragher saw it, he 
walked over and surveyed it for a while, and said, 
" the devil's luck to you, what a place you should 
die ; in the middle of plenty, and to give a bad name 
to the place." He got the price of another from the 
mistress, so soon forgot the dead donkey ; the 
moment he took his fiddle in his hand he played 
and sang a ballad called " Doran's ass," by way of a 

If there is a day of mirth there is also one of 
mourning, so did the family of Gurteen realise. 
The old mistress of that home is drawing to the close 
of her useful life, her last moments have arrived, 
her two daughter are by her bedside and her eldest 
son ; the other is with his regiment ; except for this 
she feels happy ; as she looks upon each she tells 
them she will soon be with her beloved, her clergy- 
man is beside her, and administers the last blessed 
comfort and rite of the church, and she feels happy 
waiting her Saviour's call to rest. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 315 

Father Luke, the good priest, calls to see her and 
with heartfelt sorrow beholds the fast fading face 
of his once genial, happy and hospitable hostess, and 
departs with a heavy heart and fervent prayer for 
her everlasting peace. 

The servants feel a gloom hangs over them as 
also the tenants and neighbors, and genuine sorrow 
is traced in every countenance and told by every 

Two of the servants were returning from a dance 
some time ago, and as they turned up the avenue, 
they heard a carriage roll along the high road, and 
through the avenue gate, although they knew it was 
shut, and swept past them towards the house and 
was gone. They fled in terror to the house, rushing 
into the kitchen fainting, and after recovering from 
their fright, related the terrible news of the dead 
watch rolling past them, along the avenue towards 
the house. As they related the fact of the ghostly 
visitor, every face had depicted upon it the utmost 
consternation and dread. It was told in hushed 
voice and with bated breath, and each and all charged 
not to speak a word about it. But all said, " it is 
the poor ould mistress, the Lord betune us an harm. ,, 

Mrs. D'Arcy is speaking her last sad words to 
her beloved children and her two grandsons, who 

316 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

stand beside her bed weeping, as she tells them she 
will soon be at rest, warns them to be kind to the 
poor, tells the two weeping boys to love and obey 
their mother, for her sake, and that God will bless 
them. In failing, faltering voice she said " God bless 
you Lucy and my poor widowed Mary, God bless 
you William, be kind to all, lay me beside your 

father, tell Henry " Here her voice failed to 

speak the loving message to her absent son, her lips 
continued to move in silence and then ceased, her 
head fell back on the arm of Mary, and her eyes 
closed in death for ever. The loving and tender 
hearted mistress of Gurteen was no more. A sup- 
pressed wail now filled the halls of Gurteen and 
was taken up without, and soon the sad news was 
communicated to every hut and hovel for miles, and 
once again the sounds of mirth and innocent enjoy- 
ment were hushed beneath the silent pall of sorrow 
and gloom, which the sable- winged angel of death shed 
from his outstretched plumes as he hovered over this 
old Irish home and refuge for the poor and oppressed, 
for such it was ; nor is this anything extraordinary, 
but, on the contrary, was the custom and almost 
universal character of the old and native Irish 
families ; such cannot be said of the class of immi- 
grants and adventurers that are swarming over the 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 317 

country to-day ? like the locusts of Egypt or its frogs. 

The scene at the house, waking the dead, was 
similar to that which has been described at the 
death of Mr. D'Arcy some years before, as also at 
his funeral. The old vault was once again made to 
open its awful portals to receive its victim. 

Mrs. D'Arcy's remains were gently laid beside 
her beloved husband's, and the unbroken silence of 
the tomb was again reigning, and the ancient dead 
unheeding and unconscious of the accession to their 
numbers slept their last sleep. Nor was the form 
of poor old Kit Murrought to be seen as in days 
past, kneeling and praying among and for the 
departed dead, in her lonely home of departed 

The blank that now existed and was painfully 
felt in Gurteen w r as oppressive and scarcely sup- 
portable. After a few days Lucy w T as gone, and 
poor Mary Claymore stood the lone, temporary 
mistress of the old home ; she wept, but devoted her 
time if possible more than ever to the relief of the 
poor and sick. For in. truth this brought herself 
relief, and kept her from brooding over her troubles 
and sorrows. Thus time sped onwards, twelve months 
have gone past and William D'Arcy's debts press 
upon him ; he must retrieve his position and pro ,pects 

318 Scenes and Incidents in Irish, Life. 

by marriage. He owes a large sum to both his 
sisters, he accordingly marries, gets a large fortune 
with his wife, which still falls far short of meeting 
his indebtedness. He is only able to pay part of what 
he owes his sisters. Mary Claymore's is a large sum 
of money, which she invests in certain stocks, by 
the advice of Lord Finch, and having done so 
proceeds to England, visits the grave of poor Clay- 
more, and spends some time amongst old friends, 
one of them the Countess Contumello, who with 
much riches, and no husband, spends much of her 
time in frivolous gaiety and fashion. All this, how- 
ever, is tiresome to Mary Claymore, she is sitting at 
breakfast one morning chatting away about old times, 
when she receive news that Lord Finch has com- 
mitted suicide in Trinity College, Dublin, because of 
some pecuniary embarrassment, or failure in some 
banking speculation. The paper drops from the 
hands of Mary Claymore, as she realizes only too 
clearly her position, which is further confirmed by 
a letter which arrives somewhat later. She at once 
returns to Ireland, to find that only a few pounds 
remain of all she had, and for the first time she 
experiences the feelings which come to the homeless 
and penniless, and she sat down and wept and 
thought of her home and beloved father and mother. 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 819 

She would not turn into the house of a brother or 
sister married. To add to her affliction, news of the 
death of her younger brother reached her. He was 
with the army on the continent, and received a bullet 
wound of which he died. 

She appealed to her brother at Gurteen, but he 
was so badly involved that the property was placed 
in the insolvent or landed estates court, and William 
D'Arcy was compelled to rent his own property, or 
rather a small portion of it. Unable to bear up 
under the disgrace or humiliation of his reduced and 
altered circumstances, he went to France, from 
whence he never afterwards returned, and the glory 
of Gurteen was departed and for ever. 

One day an old carriage drove up to an unoccu- 
pied and somewhat dilapidated old residence, of 
some pretensions to the character at least of departed 
gentility. It stood in a bleak and lonely situation 
amongst the mountains of Wicklow. It had the 
reputation of being haunted, and moreover, to lend 
additional weight as also dread to these reports, the 
last tenant who occupied it was a doctor, and it was 
said, he (to use a popular phrase) cut up dead bodies, 
and buried them in an old mound or remains of 
some old fort near by. Nevertheless, to a person 

without house, or home, or friends, except those you 


320 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

knew in the days of power and prosperity , which 
does not amount to much in the day of adversity, 
as those who know the world can testify, this 
bleak old house was a peaceful asylum. So thought 
Mary Claymore, as she sat down on an old box in 
one of the rcjoms, having dismissed the hackney and 
paid the man out of her scanty purse ; she hid her 
face in her hands, and wept in utter desolation and 
despair, while the two boys wandered all over 
the old house ; she thrdw herself on her knees 
and prayed to Him who watches over the widow 
and fatherless. 

She set to work now to arrange what little furni- 
ture she had sent on before, assisted by the two 
boys, on whom she felt she had to rely henceforth 
for much, and in her present desolation and distress 
realized God's goodness in having given them to her. 
But as she worked and grew weary she would sit 
down and weep afresh ; it appeared to her as if it 
was only yesterday she was in her own dear old 
home, with her beloved father and mother to comfort 
her, and as she cried and exclaimed : a Oh! that I 
was in the grave beside my dearest Henry, or in 
the silent tomb beside my darling father and mother, 
then would I be at rest ;" " mother, don't say that, 
what would we do then ? " said the younger son, 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 321 

Francis William, " dearest mother don't fret in that 
manner, Henry and I will work for you and help 
you, only stay with us here and we will be all 
right, some of our friends who are rich and can get 
what they ask for will get Henry and me situations 
and we will have enough." u my boy, you little 
know what you are talking about, when you think 
the rich and influential friends will provide for us ? 
or think of us when we are in want," said the dis- 
consolate widow, the friendless friend of the poor. 

Her sister wrote to her to come to her to England, 
but she refused, feeling it would not be wise, and 
that she might better taste the bitter cup at once' 
and equip herself for the battle of life. She 
was in the house as a caretaker nominally, and 
would therefore have no rent to pay. The boys 
found some coal in the cellar, as also some dried 
cattle manure, gathered off the pastures around in 
summer time, — this was commonly done by the poor 
as well as many others in this section of the coun- 
try. There were also some old cases in the cellar 
and garret which were a great boon, and these little 
commodities caused much happiness and thankful- 
ness in the forlorn heart of the widow. It is won- 
derful what small and insignificant things contri- 
bute to our happiness, in a large degree, in some of 

322 Sceries and Incidents in Irish Life. 

the ups and downs of life, and under varied cir- 
cumstances. . This was now particularly the case, 
seeing it was in the month of February, 

There was another room in the back part of the 
house which they had not yet entered ; the windows 
were shut and the room was quite dark, so the boys 
opened the shutters, when, to their astonishment, two 
human skulls stood grinning at them from out of a 
corner cupboard, as also some other human bones. 
The boys fled from the room and in great excitement, 
communicated their ghastly discovery to their 
mother. She at once perceived that this room had 
been used as a surgery, and by her old acquaintance 
and the friend of the unfortunate Fitzgeralds, Doctor 
Kennedy, who had to fly to France, where he swore- 
eternal hatred to England. He afterwards served 
under Napoleon with distinction and against England^ 

Mary Claymore drew the boys to one of the 
windows, and, pointing out a clump of trees in the 
distance, told them the sad history of the Fitzgeralds, 
as she added, and that is their residence, and pro- 
mised that next day they would walk over and visit 
it. As she related the mournful story, she paused at 
intervals to dry her tears and repress the feelings of 
a bursting heart. She thought to herself "if poor 
Fitzgerald and his sister Constance were there to-day, 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Llje. 323 

I would not want true sympathy or friendship, or 
even a home." 

Fitzgerald had some time ago followed his de- 
voted sister to the grave where the oppressor and • 
oppressed meet together. The next day the mother 
took her two sons and walked across a bleak stretch 
of country to the residence of her old friends. As 
they climbed over an old stile and into the orchard, 
the outhouses and back of the dwelling presented a 
weird picture. The boys walked and talked in a 
subdued manner near to their mother, none scarcely 
attempting to utter a syllable. 

There were the old stone steps which Shiel 
ascended that terrible evening already described. 
The door at the head of the steps stood open and 
black looking. The grass, long and half- withered, 
covered the thatched roof; some rabbits sat up for a 
second to look at the intruders, with their great 
long ears erect, and then shot into their burrows. 
Mary Claymore walked, w T ith palpitating heart, 
around to the hall door, whilst the thoughts would 
rise up in her mind, " that Constance and her 
brother were within ; " the boys were thinking how 
to capture some of the rabbits. The place was a sad 
picture of desolation, more especially to one who had 
seen and known it in days gone by. 

324 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

The boys procured a ferret and nets and often 
paid a visit to Ferndell, and captured several of the 
rabbits, which was a most acceptable acquisition to 
the dinner table. They learned to prepare them 
as well as to catch them, so that those exiles 
of the mountain, while yet in their bleak, desolate 
and haunted home, felt happiness and peace, 
for which the heart of the widow was thankful. 

Thus the weeks crept by ; the mother would occa- 
sionally accompany the boys, to the great joy of the 
latter, who felt a delight in displaying their skill 
before her, and as they caught a rabbit the laughter of 
the boys rang out, nor could their mother help laugh- 
ing at their success and glee ; some rays of sunshine 
broke through the dark and icy gloom that had been 
enshrouding her heart. She was feeling after all 
happy, and with her boys, in these lonely wilds of 
Wicklow, experienced a peaceful calm, and often sat 
pondering over the past, as she gazed at the distant, 
deserted home of her deceased friends. 

In the meantime, however, she had written to all 
her old and most intimate friends to aid her in 
securing some suitable situation or employment, and 
from time to time walked to the distant post office, 
expecting replies. Some she received from England 
were cold and formal; she undertook to compare 

Semes and Incidents in Irish Life. 325 

some of thein with letters received from the same 
parties in times past, but what a change of tone and 
difference of expression. She folded them in utter 
disappointment and disgust. 

One day the boys ran in, breathless with excite- 
ment and asked their mother to look through the 
window and see who was coming towards the house, 
she did, and to her astonishment, not unmingled with 
pleasure, she beheld the unmistakeable figure of the 
Major on his old Rosinante, jolting along at a gait 
that could not be well described. It was neither a 
walk, a trot nor an amble, but to describe it in musical 
terms, the time and movement was what would be 
best represented by a lot of grace notes, with an 
occasional full note, with a repeat at the end of the 

In a little time he drew rein in yard, he looked 
quite dignified, he drew out his watch to see how 
long he had been on the road. He had been two 
days and most of the nights, barring his stoppages 
on the road to graze his charger. 

He had got the address from Father Luke, 
written on a piece of paper, and which he presented 
only to the priest of the different parishes he passed 
through as a safeguard against imposition. 

" What on earth made you come to seek me out 

326 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 

Concannon ?" said Mary Claymore to him, " you 
know I am poor and have nothing, nor can I 
do anything for any one now ; I have not even a bed 
for you to lie upon." " Arrah now, Mrs. Claymoore, 
don't talk in that low-hearted way, you used to visit 
the poor, and you wor niver offinded at the poor 
commin to you, you wor always plaised. I will make 
bould to ax you, av you don't want a man to work 
around the house, in the garden, and begor all I 
want is let me lie on the floor. Be the tare av war, 
Mrs. Claymoore, I could not shtand the counthry 
whin the young masther left, I was kilt intirely? 
and my heart was a painin me, so I says to Father 
Luke, says I, Mrs. Claymoore may be in want 
of some one to work fur her, since that divil 
Finch chated her out av her money by dyin, and 
the divil die along wid him, beggin your pardon 
Mrs. Claymoore, so you won't turn me off. Begor 
mysel and Dan"— meaning the old horse — " will 
work for you day and night, and live on anything ; 
and begor I'll get that, and as I look at yoursel, 
Misthress Claymoore, and masther Henry and 
masther William there, I'll be feelin intirely I am at 
ould Gurteen." " Poor fellow," thought Mary Clay- 
more, " he has feeling and affection, if he is only 
half-witted, and he shall stay," so he was installed 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 327 

as rnan-of-all-work, and in five minutes was whist- 
ling around the place, and putting things in order. 
He found an old spade and shovel to his great joy. 
A little garden of potatoes were now to be sown, 
and he set about preparing the ground for them. Old 
,Dan was allowed to range the fields around and got 

Mary Claymore at once began to feel that the 
arrival of the Major was after all a most providential 
thing, and proved of the greatest help to her. 

A few days after this a letter came from Father 
Luke. It told about the starting of the Major to 
find out the young mistress, that the poor fellow was 
fretting, and that it was pitiful to hear him. That 
he would go down to Gurteen and hang around the 
place all day and cry like a child. In the next 
place, the letter contained a loving and delicate 
address from the tenants of Gurteen and others, 
together with an order on the Bank at Dublin for 
the sum of fifty pounds, and begging acceptance of it 
as a small and insignificant token of respectful and 
affectionate esteem and remembrance. 

Mary Claymore sat down and cried, and felt how 
different is the sympathy of the poor from the rich. 
Accept it she should, for it was the offering of honest 
hearts and true, unstudied and untainted by policy 

328 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

or any base motive, but the honest impulse of 
humble Irish hearts, who, appreciating kindness and 
affectionate thoughtfulness, thus practically acknow- 
ledged it. 

A letter also arrived from the good and kind- 
hearted master of Fernmount who, while a prisoner 
in his own house more or less on account of debt, 
still a warm invitation was extended to the widow 
and her two sons until such time as something 
presented itself for her to do. Here was another 
genuine specimen of Irish hospitality, although the 
individual offering the hospitality was greatly 

To each of those kind letters a most grateful 
reply was given, and out of the fulness of the heart, 
and Mary Claymore felt she was not yet friendless. 

There was great excitement in the house one 
night towards the end of March. The Major had 
prepared a room for himself adjoining the surgery, 
but did not know anything about his next-door 
neighbors : he had been told by a peasant who dwelt 
in the vicinity that the house was haunted, so one 
night he happened to "be awake, and listening to the 
howling of the wind through the old house, he heard 
it moaning and whistling, as if two opposing factions 
of ghosts were contending and were being moved 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 329 

from despair to desperation, when to his horror and 
great alarm he heard a bang at the window of the 
adjoining room, and then the shutters rattling as if 
some one wanted to enter ; he jumped up, bawling out, 
pirates, pirates, fire, fire ! The two boys were 
alarmed, so w r as their mother, but she lighted a 
candle and made her way to where the Major was, 
bawling in the greatest state of excitement as he 
pointed to the next room, saying, " they're in there/ 
" who ?" said Mary Claymore, " begorra, I dunno, 
mam ; I heerd them comin through the window, men 
or mortial, ghost or ghoul." 

Mary proceeded to open the door, when out went 
the candle, " ow, ow the divils," roared the Major, 
" tare-an-ouns the divils look to them, they blew the 
candle out, and the diviiblow them; Til hould the 
door while you light it agin, begor they won't cum 
out here," and so he did hold on to the door with all 
his might and bawling all the time lustily. When 
the candle was relighted, the door was gradually 
opened, the first thing that met the Major's eyes 
were the two skulls, when he set up the most 
unearthly bawling, " there they are, ow, ow, there's 
the heads of the divils," but the boys told him 
those skulls were there all the time. 

But the window was found up, this puzzled all, 

830 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

and could not be accounted for, only the Major 
declared that u the sowls were cummin for their 
heads, an no small blame to them, that it was the 
unnaturalest thing to leave them widout thim.'* 
The window was pulled down and shut up, but the 
Major stayed in the vicinity of the boys' room. 
When, after an hour or so had elapsed, he heard the 
window go up again with a bang, the room was 
again visited, when, lo, the window was up as before 
the Major was terrified and felt confident that the 
souls were after the skulls in the cupboard. It 
was very strange to say the least, and unaccountable. 
Mary Claymore was not superstitious, nor easily 
frightened, and for children of their years the two 
boys were brave ; they would not think of parting 
with the skulls, for they were a curiosity. Some little 
time would elapse and the window would remain 
undisturbed, and then again, when least expected, 
up it would go, and moreover it was a large and 
heavy window. Francis Claymore was one day 
standing in the room looking at the window thought- 
fully when a thought struck him, he set to work 
and tore away some of the casing of the window, 
and removed one of the weights, as the windows 
were raised by means of pulley, so he said he did 
not think the ghosts would return any more for their 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 331 

skulls, and he was correct. In damp weather the 
window being swelled did not move, but in dry 
weather, and a little breeze shook the window, up it 
went ; so that was the last of the ghosts. 

The summer rolled by and the garden occupied 
the time of Mary Claymore, as also her man, the 
Major, who rode to the neighboring town for messages 
and mails, from time to time, and the boys enjoyed 
themselves hunting the rabbits. 

It was in the month of October a letter was 
received from Sir Edward Xewham, saying he 
thought Mary Claymore might be able to make 
sufficient to support herself and boys by opening 
a school near Fernmount, and that he was anxious 
she should be near him. As this pleased Mary 
well, so she prepared to take her departure at 
the end of October, which she did, closing up the 
house and leaving the two skulls in solemn and 
silent possession ; nor did she depart without a 
feeling of regret, for the old house had proved an 
asylum, and a peaceful refuge, and such as suited 
her feelings at the time, but now she was once more 
to revisit old familiar scenes and faces, perhaps, upon 
the whole, when they would conduce more to her 
happiness than had she come in contact with them 
a few months before. 

332 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

She arrived at Fernmount November eve, and 
was greeted with a warm welcome and much sincere 
affection, and a genuine Irish halloween was spent 
and enjoyed ; apples were dived for in a huge wash- 
tub filled with water, others brought up a six-pence 
from the bottom with the mouth, and all the other 
accustomed and appropriate tricks and games of the 
night were indulged in by all. 

There was an old castle in the vicinity called 
Ballyaglish, a splendid old specimen of such build- 
ings. It was also reported to be haunted, the 
country people said that from time to time, or before 
the death of one of the family on whose property it 
was, a black man appeared at the grand entrance, 
rattling some chains, and cracking a great whip, out 
of which he knocked fire, when he at once disap- 

A few of the farmers asked leave to dry their flax 
in the great lower room of the old castle, in which 
stood a great open and wide fire-place, so a number 
of them assembled, a huge turf fire roared up the 
great chimney, around on every side were the great 
dark passages leading up and down great flights of 
stone steps set in the thick, solid* walls of masonry. 

Songs and stories went the round, so as to pass 
away the time, ghost stories and strange appearances 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 333 

and noises were told about, as all crowded nearer 
and nearer to the fire, and so as to get as far as 
possible from the dark passages, when, all av a 
suddint, as Pat would say, one song was interrupted 
as effectually as if the windpipe was severed, and 
each and all stared from one to the other, " did 
you hear anything, Jim?" says one, " Begorra I did 
if I baint mishtook," said another, " hould on," said 
the third, u blur-an-agers, the Lord be betune us an 
harm, if I didn't hear a chain rattling." Sure enough 
a chain was heard rattling at the top of the castle, 
and descending the stone steps, and approaching 
nearer and nearer. Every ear was strained to the 
utmost, and every eye appeared to start from the 
sockets, when, horror of horrors ! crash came chains 
down the stone steps. A general rush was made for 
the door, every one for himself, and Pluto take the 
hindmost. In the struggle to get out, some stuck in: 
the door and kept back others, none dared to curse, 
but their ejaculations were a strange medley. Frantic 
efforts were made, until at last over-pressure, like 
the compressed air in an air-gun, shot them out, and, 
regardless of steps to the ground, four feet beneath 
them, they tumbled out in amass. Scarcely giving 
themselves time to get to their feet, they fled like 
madmen, throwing themselves over walls and forcing 

334 Scents and Incidents in Irish Life. 

through hedges, they made for the first house and 
carried the door before them as unceremoniously as 
they left the other one behind them. It was a sur- 
prising retreat while it lasted, the effects of the fun 
did not die out for many a day afterwards. 

The truth of the story was this, the old mistress . 
of the adjoining residence was a stout-hearted old 
lady, so she crept up the great winding stone stairs, 
leading up through the wall from the grand entrance, 
and in the black darkness of those sepulchral 
passages reached the top, where some chains of 
ploughs or carts were thrown, with these she began 
to descend, and as she got half way down, flung 
them forward, with the result just described. 

In the vicinity of Fernmount Mary Claymore 
spent some years until her eldest boy was about 
eighteen. He joined the army and died while yet 
in the prime of life, but far away from the mother 
who had loved and watched over him. 

Her sole support and comfort was now her 
younger, Francis William, but, after a little, her 
friend Sir Edward Newham became more and more 
embarrassed and had to bow to fate. Warrant after 
warrant was issued to arrest him for debt, so one 
dark stormy night when, as the saying goes, " you 
would not turn an enemy's dog from your door/' 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 335 

the kind-hearted owner of Fernmount gathered all 
his little circle around him and said " fare well " to 
them. It was a sad parting, he was about to 
commit himself to the care of two faithful followers 
to row him down the Shannon and over to the Gal- 
way side, where he could not be arrested until fresh 
warrants were again secured, and he could, unchal- 
lenged, reach Galway city or Limerick and escape to 
France. The nicrht was dark as a dungeon as he 
made his way down through the old rookery to 
edge of the Shannon; the waters were being lashed 
upon the shore by the wind furiously. Sir Edward 
wrapped himself in his great cloak, sat in the stern 
of the boat, took the tiller, and said, " shove her off, 
Claymore farewell, God be with you my boy ; God 
be with you Fernmount, farewell for ever/' and the 
boat shot out over the dark and angry water and 
was lost to sight on the bosom of Lough Derg. 

Poor Lady Xewham spent an anxious night, as also 
Mary Claymore and the whole family. The house 
was kept closely barred as usual for a couple of days, 
to make believe Sir Edward was there still. But 
when it became known he was escaped the disap- 
pointment of some of the limbs of the law was 

great, and as to the creditors they were furious, 

336 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life, 

because they were robbed of the gratification of 
seeing his body rot and die in prison. 

His family followed him soon after to France, 
and the glories of the Ne whams in grand old Fern* 
mount were gone and for ever. One son was an 
officer in the navy and another went to travel on 
the continent as a pedestrian tourist. Francis 
Claymore obtained an appointment under the 
government of the time, and was once more in the 
vicinity of Garreen castle, his poor mother with 
him, of whom he was always fond, and she watched 
over him with loving solicitude. 

He got married in time, and renting a farm not 
far from Banagher, lived there for some years. Mary 
Claymore was now a grand-mother, bent and aged ; 
she took her grandson by the hand and walked 
about the fields with him. He was called after his 
father, she taught him to read and pray as she did his 
father, when a boy in old Gurteen. One morning as 
the first snow of winter lay on the ground, all were 
called from their beds to the bedside of Mary Clay- 
more, and as she lay dyin g in peace, she said to her 
grandson, " read the word of God and meet me in 
Heaven. p These were the last words of the last of 
the D'Arey family of old Gurteen and all her trials 
and sorrows were over, and truly she had her share • 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 337 

She was quietly borne to her last resting-place in 
the old church-yard of Banagher, and the soft white 
snow fell gently upon her grave, emblematic of the 
life and character of her who was once known as 
Mary Eleanor D'Arcy of Gurteen. 

Several of these old estates, such as described, 
have fallen into the hands of English speculators, 
tradesmen, shopkeepers, weavers and innkeepers, 
who come over from time to time to gather the 
pounds of flesh from the bodies of the poor hardwork- 
ing Irishmen and women, widows and orphans, in 
exorbitant rents, which if not paid ejection follows, 
thereby destroying effectually all feeling of security 
and idea of permanency. All attachment to and 
interest in a home is completely annihilated, and thus 
successfully severing the anchor-chain by which 
Ireland's affections and interests were or might 
still be chained to England ; and that a few specu- 
lators who have no interest in Ireland beyond their 
own selfish ends should be allowed to alienate the 
affections of a people from the crown and throne ; 
for whose honor and maintenance they have fought 
and died, is beyond comprehension. 

It is beyond reasonable dispute that a species of 
slavery has been carried on in Ireland, and winked 
at by each successive government, because of a 

338 Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 

political policy and expediency which would 
sacrifice the wronged and enslaved, despite the 
agonizing cry for justice and humanity, and the 
frantic efforts put forth to get an impartial hearing 
and examination into past wrongs and present evils, 
from a power above the cloud of political hacks and 
self-interested underlings, who, fencing round the 
throne, and usurping power, thrust back every plea 
and petition, and if a pleading cry was raised by the 
unfortunate petitioner, a hideous din of voices crying 
rebel and rebellion was raised, which effectually 
drowned the plea for justice and mercy. 

A fixity of tenure must be secured, a local govern- 
ment granted the same as to Canada, with her upper 
and lower houses of legislature, against which, never- 
theless, there is much to be said. But if Britain 
accords such privileges to all branches of her exten- 
sive household except to Ireland the latter surely 
has some grounds for complaint. 

The resident landlords seldom oppressed the 
tenant. They resided amongst the people and spent 
their incomes amongst them, knew and talked with 
them face to face, not through some tyrannical agent, 
who, to increase his stipend and influence with the 
landed proprietor — who judged and appreciated all 
things by his rent-roll and income, knowing little 

Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 339 

and caring less as to how it came or by what means, 
so that it was remitted to him to England — oppressed 
the helpless tenant and extorted all he could from 

Ireland will be loyal to the laws of England, and 
join issues with her, if she will only be loyal to 
the laws of humanity and, with bandaged, eyes poise 
the scales of justice and judgment. Away with 
speculating landlordism. Give the rightful owners 
of the soils the sons and daughters of Erin, a chance 
to own their own homes and enjoy the fruits of their 
labors, as a recompense and atonement for past 
oppressions and confiscations ; then up with the flag 
of the union, when it will mean something, and let 
it wave over the Irish Local House of Parliament 
in Dublin. The Yankee shark, adventurer, stump 
orator and intriguer will be choked off, and the 
sweet little shamrock of Erin will bloom and look 
lovely at the foot of the throne, or in the crown, 
and be looked upon not as an emblem of strife but 
of our great and common faith and political fact : — 


The shamrock, the rose and the thistle. 


Scenes and Incidents in Irish Life. 


Kedolent still is the breath of sweet Erin 

Of roses and cowslips and violets blue, 
The primrose blooms sweet by th' old Danish cairn, 

Where the honey-bee stops for to sip off the dew. 

Vocal is still the sweet air of dear Erin 
' Yfith notes of each songster in bush and in tree, 
The skylark mounts up, for she has a share in 

The land that should ring with the songs of the free. 

Green is the memory still of sweet Erin 

As th' ivy that clings to the old Abbey wall, 

Fresh as the clear, crystal springs that appear in 
The breast of that Island, the sweetest of all. 

Noble be ever the sons of old Erin, 

All lovely her daughters in virtue and face ; 

Thy waters of peace my bark I shall steer in, 

And 'neath thy green sod find aJLast resting-place.